Bid to inject new life into market

STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE -- the once-bustling Hucknall Market
STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE -- the once-bustling Hucknall Market
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AN INVESTIGATION has been launched to find ways to modernise and improve Hucknall Market to make sure it has a bright future.

The Friday version and the Bargain Market on Thursday evenings have been hit by the recession and economic downturn.

Traders are struggling and there has been a decline in the number of stalls being occupied in recent years.

But Ashfield District Council is bidding to take action to preserve the historic attraction.

A scrutiny review has been launched by the council which will explore positives and negatives of the market and its counterparts in Sutton and Kirkby.

Examples of flourishing markets elsewhere in the country will be looked at and council officers will be particularly interested in attracting young shoppers.

Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, who is deputy leader of Ashfield Council, said: “Yes, Hucknall Market has been hit in recent years but so have markets everywhere.

“It is still doing better than others, with about 60% of stalls occupied. But we want to make sure things get even better. We need to give support behind the scenes.

“Hucknall is a market town and the market is part of our tradition. It is essential it continues.

“I and the council are adamant we will do all we can.”

Take-up of stalls on Hucknall’s Friday market hasbeen as low as 48% this year.

Hucknall’s town-centre manager, Mark Armstrong, explained that the scrutiny review is in its early stages and there had been just one meeting so far.

He told the Dispatch: “Markets are under a lot of pressure. But the market is important to Hucknall and important to the council as it helps create the identity of the town centre.

“We want to look at ways of attracting more stall-holders and customers. Let’s take the positives, build on them and drive things forward.”