Fourteen stalls leading up to Wellingborough Market are to be removed in a bid to improve the facility’s layout and boost trade.
The stalls are in Pebble Lane, which leads from main town centre thoroughfare up to the market itself.
We want to save Wellingborough market and we’re looking at everything we can to help it thriveCllr Martin Griffiths
Members of Wellingborough Council’s services committee last night agreed that the stalls should be removed so that the market is located in one single place to encourage more shoppers and traders.
Consideration will also be given to better signs from the town centre in order to promote the market and direct people to the market square.
Welcoming the proposal to remove the stalls, members of the committee commented that Pebble Lane had become narrow and forbidding, with the street often feeling completely blocked and hindering people from visiting the market itself.
Cllr Martin Griffiths, chairman of the council’s market working group, which was set up to look at ways to improve the facility, said: “We want to save Wellingborough Market and we’re looking at everything we can to help it thrive.
“The idea behind removing the Pebble Lane stalls is to get people to take those few extra steps up to the market to discover what’s on offer up there.
“Then we can begin to attract more traders and work towards a viable market, with all the benefits that will bring to our town.
“The Pebble Lane stalls are popular with traders as they are in a highly-visible part of the town’s main shopping area, but they don’t help the rest of the market.
“Bringing the market into one place is long overdue.”
Last year, the National Association of British Market Authorities was invited to take a look at Wellingborough Market and recommended several ways to improve the facility.
Reporting on the Pebble Lane stalls, the organisation said that they did “nothing to assist the remaining market in terms of attracting custom” and had “resulted in the market becoming fragmented. The market needs to be easily accessible and compact.”
Current traders were also asked for their opinions, with several responding that having all the stalls together would encourage footfall.
They felt that separating the stalls was confusing to potential customers, who may not realise that the main market place existed.
Following the committee’s decision last night, the next step is to inform traders of the decision and to work with the current Pebble Lane stallholders to help them relocate up to the market square. A notice period and timetable for the move has yet to be agreed.
The removal of the Pebble Lane stalls is one of a number of initiatives introduced by the council in an effort to improve the market, including free activities for shoppers, rent-free incentives for traders, and better marketing and publicity.
Wellingborough was granted a market charter in 1201 and currently holds a market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
More information about Wellingborough Market, including trader application packs, is available on the council’s website at www.wellingborough.gov.uk/market.