Last-ditch effort to prevent unpopular market changes

Mansfield Market Place.
Mansfield Market Place.

A trade association has written to Mansfield District Council in a last-ditch effort to prevent plans to radically alter the town’s market from going ahead.

A final decision on the changes is being considered, with proposals to move all of the stalls from Westgate and onto Market Place and close the Monday market.

However, the National Market Traders Federation has written to the council to outline its own “final position” following a visit to the market earlier this month and speaking with traders.

Joe Harrison, federation chief executive, has written to Councillor Stewart Rickersey, the driving force behind the changes, saying: “The NMTF does not believe stalls should be removed from Westgate and traders incorporated into Market Place.

“This proposal goes against the wishes of the market traders.

“They have not been convinced by any evidence that relocating would be a good move for their business.

“I want to reiterate the importance of markets as an integral part of a town centre’s retail offer.”

Mr Harrison finished his letter by calling for Coun Rickersey to step down from his role if the market declines.

Traders called for a second consultation into the proposed changes after only 717 from 4,426 public responses were considered.

Coun Rickersey claimed others were reacting to a “Save Our Market” campaign, when there was never any intention of closing the market, and so they were cast aside.

Since then, the proposals have been put under scrutiny by a council committee, forcing Coun Rickersey to answer questions over the plans.

Reports have since been prepared and a decision is expected in the coming weeks.

Ultimately, the decision remains with Coun Rickersey, who can choose or ignore to endorse alternative ideas.

Coun Nick Bennett, who supports the plans, said: “We are not going to please all of the people all of the time, but we have got to give it a try.

“If it doesn’t work out, that is the time to complain.”