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Market traders back plans for town council takeover

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TRADERS have backed plans for Melksham Town Council to take control of the weekly Tuesday market.

The market is currently managed by Wiltshire Council, who traders say are unable to promote and grow the weekly event due to budget constraints. It is hoped that with the town council at the helm and in charge of promotion, more can be done to help the market thrive.

At last week’s Annual Town Meeting, mayor cllr Adrienne Westbrook announced that plans for the town council to take over management of the Market Place, including the Tuesday market, are being ‘moved forward’. 

However, she warned that Wiltshire Council ‘work slowly’ and that the town council is a long way off from being in charge of the Market Place.

The announcement came in response to an appeal from local resident Pauline Baker, who asked the town council to find a way of increasing the size of the market. “I fear that it is going to die,” said Pauline. “We have the three or four loyal stall holders – but I get the feeling that new stall holders are not being encouraged, or are being charged too much, to take part. It’s a shame, the stall holders are lovely people and I’d like to see more of them there.”

Speaking to Melksham News in support of the emerging plan, stall holder Tracey Collins from V&P Collins said, “I think it would be a good idea – it makes perfect sense, we are right outside the Town Hall. All Wiltshire Council do currently is come and collect our rent each week – it would be easy for the town council to take that over.

“With the town council’s support we could try to make the market bigger. Although, this is not an easy task, stall holders have to stay and try and build loyalty with customers. More stalls would bring more people.”

From Taylors Traditional Bakers, Sean Taylor added, “This market is self-regulating – it’s currently just the four of us and we could quite easily set the market up in the morning and give the money (rent) to the town council. They (the town council) could be responsible for admin and ensuring that new stall holders have the correct insurance.

“It’s definitely a good idea – the town council could help to promote it more. I have been told that Wiltshire Council has no money and can’t afford to promote the market. The town council has the town’s best interests at heart and will want to make sure the market thrives.”

Grant Smith of Calne Garden Ornaments, added, “The town council already do a good job of promoting the market on their Facebook page. It is a good idea for them to take it over – the town council want to do more for the town.”

Wiltshire Council was approached for comment, but had not responded by the time the paper went to print.

Above: Tuesday market traders Tracy Collins, Sean Taylor, and Grant Smith.

One Response to Market traders back plans for town council takeover

  1. Mr Robert Chandler

    May 18, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Perhaps in the initial short term, offer free slots to traditional traders(Cheese Mongers, Grocers, local/British producers, Fish mongers, Crafts, etc) that bring diversity to the shopping experience in Melksham (subject to commitment to a contract). Then continually promote the “Melkers Market” via all media channels. It’ll take time, consistency, patience and money to make it work, but in the mid to long term it’ll help re-establish Melksham as a proper Market town and in the process hopefully stick two fingers up to Trowvegas Council.

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