Market thriving despite fewer traders – report

AN HISTORIC market is thriving despite falling numbers of traders, a new report has claimed.

A review of Bury St Edmunds market said it was still profitable with a good range of products, but suggested more food stalls, improved signage and new businesses could safeguard its future.

John Webber, chairman of the Bury Market Traders’ Association, said: “We are going to see what changes are implemented.

“This is one of the only buoyant markets in East Anglia.”

After the number of traders fell by almost 6% over the past five years, St Edmundsbury Borough Council ordered the �6,000 investigation to stem the decline of the much-loved market.

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A lack of staff, forward planning and marketing were pinpointed for improvement in the report, published this week.

The review also recommended an urgent review of waste management and recycling at the site.

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Mr Webber, who has run a stall on Bury market for the past 30 years, said free parking on Wednesdays in winter and better signs from the A14 could improve life for traders.

“We need more stalls,” he said. “We need to give people variety.

“This is a thriving market but you have got to keep the traders you already have.

“You shouldn’t out price them.”

Fears were raised the market, which has been in the town since before the time of William the Conqueror, might need to attract ‘upmarket’ stalls to survive in the face of ageing shoppers, supermarkets and changing shopping habits.

But the report by external consultants said the market was still delivering a significant trading profit.

Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member responsible for the borough’s markets, said: “We need to ensure Bury market thrives not just now, but for many years to come so our children and generations beyond them can continue to enjoy its attractions and benefits.

“I am looking forward to working with traders to secure the market’s future.”

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