Traders win pitch battle, and now call on council to work with them

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Market traders have won their battle to remain on Westgate in Mansfield town centre, and are urging the council to now work closely with them in future.

Mansfield District Council has announced its decision to keep the market running six days a week, sand keep the pitches on Westgate on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Last year the council launched a consultation which proposed to ditch the Westgate stalls, and move all traders onto Market Place in an effort to create a bustling town centre.

But almost 84 per cent of the 4,426 people who took part called for the market to remain the same.

Market trader Stephen Buxton, who runs a picture framing stall, always maintained that the Westgate pitches were the prime spots for traders, and that by moving them into Market Place would result in traders leaving the town for good.

He felt that the council had bowed to pressure from national chain stores in the town centre to move the stalls, promoting the consultation.

Speaking to Chad this week, he said: “We are happy with the decision, the feeling is optimistic, we now know we can move forward.

“We want to be part of Mansfield town centre’s future. There are generations who have worked on Westgate and it’s fantastic that we can carry on.

“Westgate is a prime spot and without it, we may not have a market.

“We would like to see the council get the traders more involved in the running of the market.”

As well as keeping the stalls as they are, the market is also set to benefit from £100,000 of investment.

The council says that further work is needed but plans include improving the appearance of the market stalls and potentially creating more flexibility in its operation with stalls that can be moved more easily to accommodate events.

The council added that it will continue to work with the Mansfield BID to support periodic niche markets, such as the Christmas and summer evening markets.

Further promotion of the market through the national ‘Love Your Local Market’ campaign will also continue and opportunities will be explored to deliver healthy eating initiatives with key partners.

Young people with business ambitions will be encouraged to try their hand at market trading and traders will be encouraged to make use of training opportunities, such as the National Market Traders Federation 400 business support package.

Coun Kate Allsop, portfolio holder for regeneration at Mansfield District Council, had spearheaded the consultation into the future of the market last year.

She said: “We have listened to the views of market traders, town centre businesses and the public on the future of Mansfield market and have come up with this strategy to strengthen the market and enhance its appeal to shoppers and traders.

“We want the market to flourish and will be working with our partners to explore as many opportunities as possible to attract new traders and customers in 2015.”