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Council wants bigger market

PUBLISHED: 20:00 19 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 March 2010

BOSSES at Ipswich's Civic Centre are today prepared for a new clash with the town's market traders if it's the only way of expanding the number of stalls on the Cornhill.

BOSSES at Ipswich's Civic Centre are today prepared for a new clash with the town's market traders if it's the only way of expanding the number of stalls on the Cornhill.

They feel that the only way of attracting new stalls is to appoint an independent market operator.

At present the market is run by a co-operative of the stallholders – and some are angry that the council is trying to appoint an operator "over their heads."

However The Evening Star has learned that councillors and officials are concerned that gaps have opened up in the market, and believe a full-time operator – who might be a council officer – is needed to attract more stallholders.

"We feel there needs to be a big effort to attract new stalls, that shouldn't be too difficult," said council leader Peter Gardiner.

"We've had a report compiled which says there is no reason why a town the size of Ipswich shouldn't be able to attract 30 to 40 stalls every week.

"That's why we're looking to expand it down Queen Street and the bottom of Lloyd's Avenue."

Mr Gardiner said the council was encouraged by the number of people visiting the market. "I certainly think there's the potential there for it to expand along the nearby streets – but you do need people to go out and sell it to potential stallholders."

Mr Gardiner said the success of other markets like Bury St Edmunds and Felixstowe – which attracts about 100 stallholders every Sunday – proved the demand was there.

Other sources at the council said there was a suspicion that the existing traders who were currently running the market as a co-operative were so busy running their own businesses that they weren't able to spend time building up the market as a whole.

"We are concerned about the gaps that have built up recently – with the number of people milling about the Cornhill on market days it shouldn't be difficult to find traders to come in there," said one council official.

"Many of the stalls that are there at present have good pitches and are clearly doing very well – what incentive is there to expand the market and bring more people in?"

The leader of the market traders' co-operative, Mike Young, said that many efforts had been made to attract more stallholders – including advertising and leafleting other markets.

"But it isn't easy to attract new people to a market like this," he said.

"Markets are considered a bit of an anachronism by many people and it isn't easy to find new stallholders.

"Also the rents have gone up steeply since we came here – that's put off a lot of people," Mr Young said.

nDo you think a full time market operator is needed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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