Bring our street back to life, say traders

a picture of Fenkle Street
a picture of Fenkle Street

Traders on an Alnwick street have put forward a raft of ideas to help bring more business to their shops, particularly during festivals.

Gemma Stonehouse, who runs the Hallmark Gold Crown card and gift shop on Fenkle Street, has asked the town council to get behind the plans, which she hopes will direct new custom through their doors.

They include new signage from the Market Place, improvements to the alleyway beneath the Town Hall and even a trial market along the street.

At Thursday night’s meeting of the town council, she said: “All the retailers had a meeting because we felt that Fenkle Street is somewhat lacking in footfall. We came up with some ideas to hopefully get people back onto the street.

“Using the alley which runs from the Market Place to Fenkle Street is not a particularly pleasant experience and it’s especially bad on Monday mornings after the pubs have been well-used over the weekend. It smells, it’s dirty and we don’t think it’s a particularly inviting going to and from the Market Place.”

Coun Sue Patience said moves had been made in the run-up to the recent Festival of Alnwick to have the Gallery Youth Project create an artwork on the alley walls, but English Heritage had objected because of the listed status of the Town Hall.

Miss Stonehouse added that signage from the Market Place may help direct visitors onto Fenkle Street. “We’re not even sure if visitors know that there are good shops on that street,” she added.

She also suggested considering a trial market on the street, or an overflow from the existing market in the square during special events. Karen Larkin, from the Alnwick Food Festival, said: “We are due to have a meeting with the county council to discuss this. We recognise that Fenkle Street is missed out when it comes to events and we are considering moving the market to the street on the Food Festival weekend.”

However, she added that negotiations had yet to take place with the county council and police over any street closure, due to access requirements and the possible effect on paid parking bays.

Coun Sue Allcroft said: “I think it would be a good idea to trial a market on Fenkle Street, but the key would be good signage from the Market Place. Going back to the alleyway, I think major improvements to the lighting are required.”