Stallholders’ final plea over Mansfield market plans

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Stallholders from Mansfield market have made a final plea to halt proposed changes, saying that traders are already beginning to turn their back on the town.

A consultation on the proposals - which includes relocating all stalls from Westgate to Market Place and reducing the number of market days - closed on Friday and had more than 4,000 responses from shoppers.

But as the data is now being analysed, weekly trader Stephen Buxton said talk of the changes has been enough for some traders to throw in the towel.

The 50-year-old, who runs a picture-framing stall, said: “We’ve had three given their notice already, which is worrying.

“If you think that in three or four months time the market might be cut down to three or four days a week, you have to think about your business, so it obvious people will start to look elsewhere.

“It’s having a very negative effect, and they won’t have a market at this rate.”

The consultation, which is being led by Mansfield District Council’s portfolio holder for economic regeneration, Coun Kate Allsop, is to help create a strategy to revitalise the market.

She said that there had been issues in the past with shopkeepers complaining about stalls blocking their windows and affecting trade.

Mr Buxton, along with other stallholders, have been urging members of the public to make their voices heard, and say they have had great support from shoppers in the town centre.

Not only this, but he says shopkeepers on Westgate have since added their support, and say that claims about affecting trade were not true.

“We had 19 of 21 shops on Westgate putting up A4-sized posters supporting us, it’s been fantastic,” he added. “They don’t want us to move so I don’t know why the council is trying to move us to the Market Place.”

Richard Smith, who is the manager at the Virgin Media store on Westgate has thrown his support behind the traders.

He said: “We noticed that people do come across more and look into our window when the market is not there, but on the other side of the coin, it’s the market that brings mrore people into the town. On the balance of it, I think we get more passing trade with the market there.

“The market needs money spending on it, not just move it, the council needs to do a proper job.

“It’s a market town and needs celebrating.”