My father was a local licensee to a public house situated in the market place of Mansfield’s town Centre and I as his son I lived there for many years.
During this time I have seen a thriving market both indoors and outdoors that was the envy of towns and cities and where there was an overspill of market traders who would queue in the hope of a spare pitch.
This was the heart of Mansfield where people gathered not just to browse the eclectic mix of shops and stalls but also a social gathering of Mansfield residents in an interesting environment.
Unfortunately the downfall of our town centre for whatever good reason I think starts with the introduction of the ring road and while this eases car congestion to our centre it also diverts people away from it ,this coupled with the period of time where car parking facilities were sadly neglected all adds up to less footfall in our shops.
Market traders confided in me that their stall costs were becoming unrealistic and that profit margins were dwindling and one by one market traders disappeared never to return again taking with them some of the attraction of Mansfield.
Perhaps planning may have to bear the brunt of the blame considering the number of retail outlets that have been allowed to be developed outside the town centre, this in turn must put pressure on existing businesses in our town centre and again reduce the footfall in our town centre shops, it would seem to me that we have become very insular in our shopping habits and have to jump out our car and walk no more than five paces to shop where everything can be bought all under one roof.
Mr C D Bradshaw
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