Sleaford Town Council are considering proposals to move the town’s weekly market to a more central location in an attempt to attract more shoppers and traders.
The council are considering the possibility of moving the market to the Money’s Yard Car Park in the centre of town, but they have also warned that if interest fails to pick up then the council may cease to hold them on a weekly basis.
The current 12th Century market place, also a district council car park, is situated alongside St Denys’ Church, and is currently utilised for markets three times a week, with additional dates for specialist and one-off events.
Following the success of Sleaford Christmas Market last year, the town council say they may put further emphasis on these less frequent markets, such as craft events.
The challenges of logistics and lack of interest has long been a problem, with North Kesteven District Council originally leasing responsibility for running the market to Sleaford Town Council in 2006.
However, despite initial success, the number of traders has fallen to as few as three stalls in recent years and reductions in costs to traders, with pitches costing as little as £3.50, have also failed to generate sufficient interest.
Other proposals to increase footfall, by moving the market to the largely empty Riverside Shopping Centre, have been dismissed due to logistical and safety issues.
The larger problem of the so-called ‘death of the high street’ is affecting towns and cities up-and-down the country, and the government has set up the ‘Future High Street Fund‘, inviting local authorities to apply for funds to renovate high street across the country.
Keith Martin, Clerk of Sleaford Town Council, speaks about the challenges and plans for the future of the market.