Pebble Lane stalls could be relocated to help improve Wellingborough market

The stalls in Pebble Lane could be relocated
The stalls in Pebble Lane could be relocated

Stalls which have lined Pebble Lane in Wellingborough for 10 years could be moved to try and boost trade at the town’s market.

A market working group set up by Wellingborough Council has been looking at ways to improve Wellingborough market through its operation, marketing and publicity as well as possible changes to the market environment.

This has included considering the market’s layout and it has been suggested that the 14 stalls in Pebble Lane relocate to the market itself.

These stalls are popular with traders as they lead from the main shopping and pedestrian area of Market Street up to the market so they are visible and attract increased footfall.

But fees are higher in Pebble Lane with a permanent trader paying £18 for a stall in Pebble Lane in comparison to £13 on the market place.

Last September, a ‘health check’ of Wellingborough market carried out by the National Association of British Market Authorities commented on Pebble Lane and said: “Pebble Lane traders will not want to re-locate as they have a prominent link to the main thoroughfare.

“Unfortunately these stands do nothing to assist the remaining market in terms of attracting custom.

“This is not the fault of these traders but has resulted in the market becoming fragmented.

“The market needs to be easily accessible and compact in terms of offer.”

In December, 50 questionnaires were distributed to market traders and 13 completed forms were returned, of which eight said they felt all traders should be located on the market place.

Wellingborough Norse has said that while the number of Pebble Lane traders could be accommodated on the market place, they would have to fit in with other traders so would not necessarily be allocated the stalls they want.

The report containing the proposal, set to be discussed on Monday, states there is a risk that income could be reduced if Pebble Lane traders do not wish to relocate.

There will also be a reduction in market income as the rates for stalls on the market place are lower than Pebble Lane.

However, the report also states: “An improved market could bring benefits to the local community by way of social and economic improvement.

“The historic value of the market creates a sense of place for residents and identity for the area as an ancient market town.

“An empty, run-down market place attracts anti-social behaviour.

“A vibrant market draws shoppers to the centre, and improved layout and promotion provide a pleasing space on non-market days.”

If the recommendation of relocating the Pebble Lane stalls is approved, traders will be informed and a notification period agreed with the market working group before any changes are introduced.

The cost of removing the stalls from Pebble Lane is £3,000.

The proposal will be discussed by the council’s services committee at 7pm on Monday at Swanspool House in Wellingborough.