The truth is, its a solid report.It may not reach a conclusion we would agree with or look at the wider issues associated with the decision.
People from the Council have tried to investigate Bakewell, Matlock, Wirksworth and Ashbourne stall markets and have visited each location. They’ve seen what you and I have seen. Here are the bare facts about Ashbourne Market in the report:
A questionnaire was sent to traders in August and September There was a consultation with traders on 22nd September in the town (9 attended). The “Citizens Panel” were consulted in June. An online survey was run from the District Council’s website during August and September and only 19 responses were received. Ashbourne Town Council have also been consulted.
The Town Council said that they would welcome a more diverse market with more speciality stalls There was feedback associated with all markets that some traders pack up early – they should be open until 4pm. The rules for Ashbourne Market are that on a Thursday only one stallholder can attend for each product line unless Ashbourne Licencees agree. On a Sataruday two per line are permitted. The traders have already put forward that there needs to be more advertising, use of social media, additional themed markets and a further stop for the Shopper bus in the Market Place There is no Market Traders’ Association in Derbyshire Dales and therefore the traders are acting independently. Ashbourne Town Council said that they felt it was important that the Town and District Council were in dialogue with the traders.
The prices for stalls on the Ashbourne Market are £16.60 per day for an 8 ft stall, £20.20 for a 10 ft stall. Casual traders are charged an extra £2.40. These are average charges when compared to other markets in the area and there was no increase in rents this year. Ashbourne Town Council felt that the rates were too high and if they were lower it would attract more traders. There is already a 50% concession if a trader on the Thursday market takes an extra stall.
At the Traders meeting in Ashbourne the feeling was that the market should stay in the same location but that the solution was to attract greater stall ocupancy and footfall. Whe trading is quiet some traders spread out over other stalls to try and make the market look fuller and more attractive. On a Thursday typically 16 of the 30 stalls are occupied and on Saturday 23 out of 55 stalls are occupied. The cost of setting up the Thursday market annually is £11,854 and the Saturday market is £14,666. The full cost of setting up the two markets including repairs is £28,273. The full cost of running the market (presumably including cleaning and management) is £76,094 while the rent is £41,000 and £940 from stallholder parking. This means the market loses £34,154 each year and the report estimates that a further £23,960 could be made from parking over the two days. In total the cost of the Ashbourne market is £58,114 allowing for this.
Overall the DDDC has a budget of only £1,891 for marketing all of the markets in the current year The objective of the report was to try and find out how the markets overall could save 20% in costs due to the current budget.
There we have it. It boils down to the current cuts and the pressure for all parts of the Government to reduce spending or generate more revenue. What Ashbourne needs to show is how they can bear their part of the burden (I see no reason why they should have to carry it for the other towns). 20% cost reduction means £15,250. So either the cost has to be reduced (and this includes management and cleaning) or the overall revenue increased by at least that amount (through rents, additional stallholders, or parking)? There is no marketing budget to speak of that is going to come from the Council. There’s the problem.
The report is the draft version which was sufficient to get the proposal to the next stage. It concludes that Ashbourne Thursday market should close to defray some cost and that Ashbourne customers should go to either Wirksworth or wait until Saturday.
That’s enough for now…