CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Councillor Roger Gambba-Jones
Environmental Services sits under what we call ‘Place’. Using the term place to describe a group of services, is designed to help people understand a little better, where those services are targeted.
The reason for offering you this explanation, is because when I say that Environmental Services, the team that cuts the grass, takes away our waste every week, sweeps our streets, fights the battle against litter and fly tipping and now provides a successful garden waste service, also looks after street markets. The last one might not seem an obvious environmental service, but it is very much to do with ‘Place’.
Street markets have been in the press recently, as well as emails to me. All this writing has been focused on the impact of a street market on its town centre.
In the case of Holbeach market, as well as the safety of users, the Environmental Services team were concerned at the steady and seemingly unstoppable reduction in traders wanting to rent stalls. Town centre traders were concerned at the potential impact on their businesses, when the market was moved to the car park. This was done to see if a better layout and easier access, could reverse the market’s demise and prevent its eventual closure.
Spalding is, fortunately, a successful and thriving market, especially on a Tuesday, when it doesn’t have so much competition from other towns, as it does on Saturdays. However, the success of Spalding’s market, generates issues for some local shop owners. Although they accept that footfall is always greater on market days, they also see the layout of the market and its stalls as an issue.
In both cases, interested parties have suggested that ‘the council’ should do more to support their respective town centre retailers, by either changing what’s been done, or by changing the current arrangements.
Overall, the district council will always seek to support and promote our town centres and the retailers that make them a success and a place that people want to do their shopping.
However, in the case of Environmental Services, although it has a role to play in this, it has been given its own very clear priorities. One of these, is a responsibility for keeping our street markets viable, sustainable and capable of attracting an increasing number of traders and shoppers. This means that we will always seek to make the street market our priority on a market day and resist any external pressure to undermine this priority.