Boost for markets

A NEW plan to boost markets across Northumberland has been produced by the county council.

The Northumberland County Council Markets Strategy 2011-16, which has undergone consultation with markets and other organisations from September last year, was approved at Monday’s meeting of the Executive.

The strategy, which covers markets at Alnwick and Amble as well as others across the county, aims to create a ‘dynamic market experience that is diverse, adding value to the economic, social and cultural fabric of Northumberland’.

The report lays out a five-section action plan for enacting this strategy which deals with the look and feel of markets, running viable markets, promoting markets, links between markets and the community and managing markets effectively.

As part of the development of the image of markets, the strategy calls for a harmonisation across the county through a ‘consistency of approach to stall design, fascia canopies and display whilst still recognising local distinctiveness of markets’.

The plan also calls for the setting up of a Northumberland Market Partnership ‘made up of representatives from the various market partnerships, to share ideas and experiences, and allow for economies of scale’, although this is not due to be done until 2014.

Brian Crosby, who runs Amble Market with his son James said that anything at all that will help to promote markets in the county is welcome, but he thinks that traditional markets are being pushed out at the expense of farmers’ markets.

“Twenty years ago when I started, it was a place that everybody met but now it’s being minoritised to farmers’ markets and not everybody patronises farmers’ markets. Basically we are narrowing the field massively by doing that,” he said.

He also said that the large number of charity shops around today are contributing to the decline in market trade.