Future of Buxton market at impasse

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HIGH Peak Borough Council have reached an impasse over Buxton’s traditional market - which has declined dramatically in recent years.

The authority have been working with traders for a number of years to help boost the market, which now attracts only a handful of traders. Discussions are ongoing to find a suitable solution to suit everyone however, despite concerted efforts, an agreement has not yet been reached.

A council spokesman said: “Our officers have spent quite a bit of time trying to bring new traders in – traders not quite of the traditional type, the more innovative ones.

“People come along, they do two or three weeks but then they realise that the majority of the footfall in town is elsewhere (Spring Gardens). They want to go down there and we say they can’t go down there.

“We are looking into several possible options for maybe considering moving the market on at least one day a week to a different location but the traders don’t want to do that. The majority would rather stay where they are.

“We can’t get people to go up to the market place and it is hard to know what can be done about that.”

He added: “There are three options really. One is simply to stop having a market and that is not something we want to do.

“Another is to try looking at alternative venues but there doesn’t seem to be universal support for that. And then that would also bring in issues with the fixed premises who would feel we had taken yet another thing away from them.

“The other solution is to try anything we can to bring traders up there but it is extremely,” he said.

“It is very much a situation where we are prepared to look at any alternatives. It is not easy to find a solution and we don’t have a pot of money to throw at trying to improve it.

“If we were to say to the traders ‘you can all move down into Spring Gardens itself’ I suspect they will all be down there tomorrow. But that is not something we can offer. “

He added: “We have to take account of the views of the emergency services who need to get access to the buildings if there is a fire or some other sort of emergency.

“Of course people have business premises and garages along there (Spring Gardens) and people need to be able to get through. Really there isn’t enough space to have a significant amount of stalls.

“If we do put stalls down there right outside shops, how would the shopkeepers feel about paying Spring Gardens rents and business rates and then having someone outside obscuring their shop?”