Market’s future still in balance

Market stall holder Andrew Long is concerned about the future of the market.
Market stall holder Andrew Long is concerned about the future of the market.

Further public consultation on the future layout of Lancaster’s Charter Market is to take place.

The recent consultation with market traders and the business community found a range of different views about how the market should be set out.

As part of this consultation two further layout options are being drawn up.

Both will aim to balance the needs of the market traders, businesses and shoppers while making best use of the city centre following the completion of the recent improvement works.

In addition, the consultation will ask a range of questions that will help the council make the best decision.

As well as the views of market traders, businesses and shoppers, issues such as access for emergency vehicles, street cafes, street cleansing and traffic management will be taken into account.

Mark Davies, chief officer (environment) said: “The council wants to see a thriving market and the challenge is to try and achieve that while best accommodating the different uses of the city centre.

“A balance has to be struck between the needs of different users and there’s clearly a difference of views on what the final layout should be. Some good ideas and input have come from both market traders and businesses and these are now being used to help produce drawings of what the two layouts could look like.”

The further consultation will seek views on a number of questions which will help decide what the layout should be like.

In particular the council is interested in finding out what people think the council’s view of the market should be:

lIs it something to facilitate and manage day to day with the main priority being to ensure that there’s enough pitches for traders, in the locations that best suit them?

lIs it something to actively manage and develop in a way that best complements the other trading activities in the city, as well as the other aspirations for the city?

lShould it be seen primarily as an attraction in the city centre that makes the centre an attractive and vibrant place, that is then managed to take account of other users and to make sure it achieves high standards?

The answers to these question will significantly contribute to deciding on the layout.

However, market trader Andrew Long said he feels the council is trying to prejudice people’s views.

He said: “The council seems to want to imply that the market traders are selfish and only interested in their own world and that their needs are mutually exclusive from the success of the city centre. This is the complete opposite of the real situation.

“A thriving market benefits everybody.”