Community support hailed after return of market to Clare for first time in 20 years
PUBLISHED: 07:33 20 August 2017
Richard Marsham - RMG Photography Tel - 07798 758711
Bosses behind the return of a market to Clare for the first time in 20 years have said they are buoyed by the response from the town – as some traders even sold out of produce.
A town council consultation was held in March to gather opinions for a return of the market, with an overwhelmingly positive response.
Since then, market bosses have been working to bring traders together, culminating in Clare’s first market for two decades yesterday.
“It’s gone really well, and it was very, very busy this morning,” said Sharon Fairweather, market development officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council.
“A lot of traders have sold out so it’s been a bit of a learning curve for the traders.
“We learnt a lot today so we think the second market will be bigger and better.”
Crucially, market organisers listed to feedback from the residents over what kind of stalls they would like to see, and have promised to include different traders alongside favourites to encourage variety and tempt people back.
Ms Fairweather said: “We have a good selection, and a selection of stalls that the public had asked to see such as cheeses, breads and fruit and veg.”
The market is being held on the third Saturday of every month, with organisers hoping to establish it as a mainstay on the town’s calendar once again.
Following yesterday’s first market, bosses say the feedback from traders has been good.
The market’s return comes after traders at Bury St Edmunds’s market said they were feeling the pinch more, with the cost of town centre parking and premium rate rents among some of the reasons why trading was tougher.
But Ms Fairweather said it was important to promote the market’s community ethos to bring people in, largely due to competition from online shopping or out of town retail parks. She said: “Retail is struggling because there are so many different options, so you have got to give people a reason to come into town.
“We want people to come in and experience the whole of the town – having a meal at the pub, getting a coffee from the coffee shop.
“It gets everybody out and about – it’s not just a shopping experience where you don’t see anybody – it’s a real community experience of people talking to each other and supporting locals.”