March 8 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, December 28, 2013
A twice-weekly provisions market in west Suffolk has a positive future with the creation of a new role to develop and promote it, traders have said.
Sharon Fairweather, former tourism officer with St Edmundsbury Borough Council, is the new west Suffolk markets development officer, covering the markets in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Newmarket, Mildenhall and Brandon.
Darren Old, chairman of the Bury St Edmunds branch of the National Market Traders’ Federation (NMTF), said this appointment, along with the revised market licence regulations, meant there was a bright future for Bury market which is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Last year the NMTF said Bury’s market was one of the top five in the UK.
Mr Old, who is a third-generation market trader and has a card stall opposite the Works shop, said: “I think with the introduction of the new rules and regulations and the promotions manager Bury has a good future as a market town.
“It is still very vibrant and I think we need to educate people so people understand there is an alternative to supermarkets basically.”
He added: “Before the promotions manager was put into place there was concern we weren’t getting enough traders coming to Bury and the market was not being promoted enough, but we now feel the person in the job is the right person to push the market forward.”
Councillor Alaric Pugh, cabinet member for economic growth at the borough council, said: “Our lively markets are an important part of prosperous town centres and a great asset to the local economy.
“I am delighted that Sharon Fairweather will be the new west Suffolk markets development officer.
“She brings an inimitable can-do style, proven track record and enviable networks to work with traders and town centre organisations.”
He added: “The important word in Sharon’s title is development - markets are part of the tourism strategy for west Suffolk and part of the development of our market towns in the long term.” He said she had lost no time in organising a traditional Christmas Eve provisions market and there would be more “great” events in the months to come.
There are up to 75 stalls at Bury market which brought it up to full capacity, Mr Old said, apart from the central aisle by the war memorial.
He said promotions were being planned to attract traders to this part of the market, which has been described as “death row”.
He said they were always looking for new traders to join the market, adding footfall had been up since October.
Mr Old, who is also a board member of the NMTF, said: “When I attend our national board meetings Bury is still held in high regard as a market and they use it as benchmark.”
He said both the updated rules and regulations, which came into effect last month and include health and safety, and the new role of markets development officer came off the back of a National Association of British Market Authorities’ (NABMA) report.