Market day traders in Holbeach have seen “significant increases” in sales since moving to a new site in the town, according to a council officer.
Emily Spicer, environmental services manager for South Holland District Council, claimed that feedback from stallholders since a trial move of Holbeach market from High Street to Boston Road South car park started in January had been “extremely pleasing”.
Some people like the fact that they can park up and buy their goods, while others don’t see walking to the car park as being too much for themEmily Spicer, environmental services manager for South Holland District Council
But at a meeting of Holbeach Parish Council on Monday, Mrs Spicer revealed that the trial was to be extended through to the summer when a report would be prepared for district council cabinet members to make a final decision over the town’s Thursday and Saturday markets.
Mrs Spicer said: “South Holland District Council holds the market rights for Holbeach which is why we were able to move in the first place.
“Feedback from actual stallholders has been extremely pleasing and many, if not all of them, have seen significant increases in their income.
“A high number of people have asked to join the market, which is of benefit to both stallholders and residents.
“Some people like the fact that they can park up and buy their goods, while others don’t see walking to the car park as being too much for them.
“On the whole, it seems very, very positive but I’m aware that we’ve only run this pilot from January to early May.”
When the market’s move was originally announced last December, traders and councillors were split on the issue, with some claiming it would give people better access to stallholders and others fearing that the number of people visiting shops in the town centre would drop.
Parish council chairman Coun Isobel Hutchinson said: “The traders are saying that they are seeing a noticeable difference on a Thursday because the market isn’t (on High Street).”
But Mrs Spicer replied: “To my knowledge, there has been very limited feedback from businesses in Holbeach.”
A district council spokesman said: “The new market site will be trialled throughout the summer period and a report will then be put to the portfolio holder in the autumn for a final decision.”
Explaining the decision to extend the trial for at least another four months, the district council’s environmental services manager Emily Spicer said: “We have a number of activities in the summer when the children are off school.
“So we’d like to trial the market further because I think it’s still too early to know whether it’s a good move to make.
Holbeach was left without a market on Sunday due to a funfair in Boston Road South car park which led parish councillor John Spencer to ask why alternative plans weren’t made to move the market for the day.
Mrs Spicer replied: “The fair is much-loved by some of our residents, but not so much by others and so we’ll have to look at whether we have the fair at all in Holbeach next year.”
A South Holland District Council spokesman added: “The new market site will be trialled throughout the summer period and a report will then be put to the portfolio holder in the autumn for a final decision.”