Fears Mablethorpe market day move could kill off rival Alford market

Market trader Len Evans at his fruit and veg stall with wife Linda.
Market trader Len Evans at his fruit and veg stall with wife Linda.

CONTROVERSY remains over Mablethorpe market’s move to a Tuesday with new fears the change could kill off a rival market.

Alford Town Council is planning a public meeting to air traders’ fears that Mablethorpe market’s move to a Tuesday could damage their independent market which falls on the same day.

Market plan: Councillor Craig Leyland.

Market plan: Councillor Craig Leyland.

East Lindsey District Council plans to move Mablethorpe’s market from a Thursday to a Tuesday from next month in order to be able to transport stalls using a single new vehicle rather than the existing two.

Alford town clerk Linda Croft said: “Traders and business owners are extremely concerned Mablethorpe moving to a Tuesday will affect trade.

“Alford has had its weekly market on a Tuesday for a number of years, and traders don’t want that to change.

“We’re hoping between ourselves, Mablethorpe Town Council and the district council that we can thrash something out.”

ELDC have confirmed they are in talks over a ‘local management solution’ which could see the market stay on a Thursday under the town council.

Len Evans, who has had a fruit and veg stall on Mablethorpe market alongside his wife Linda, said: “The move to the High Street has been fantastic, but the change of day would be bad news for me.

“People buy their veg from me on a Thursday for their Sunday dinners, but they won’t want to be buying as early as Tuesday, so I’ll suffer.

“I also trade at Spilsby on a Monday, I’d have to give that up.

“What really gripes me is the fact that none of these decision makers seem to have visited the new market to see just how good it is now.”

District councillor Craig Leyland (pictured left) said: “The district council is aware of the potential impact that moving Mablethorpe market to a Tuesday may have on Alford.”

‘Better shopping experience’

Coun Leyland continued: “The need to change the day for Mablethorpe is purely down to the fact that the council cannot afford to purchase two new replacement market vehicles in order to sustain the current programme when moving Mablethorpe to a Tuesday would mean that only one vehicle would be required.

“The programme of market improvements we’re going to be taking forward will focus on a better shopping experience for visitors to our markets; a wider choice of products and better publicity and promotion in support of the traders to bring in more customers.

“We need to improve our markets, making them the thriving places they once were, and ensure they contribute to the wider economy in our market towns for the benefit of taxpayers who subsidise the markets.”

The public meeting will be held on Thursday, May 24 at 7pm at the Corn Exchange, Alford.

Should Mablethorpe’s market move to a Tuesday or would this damage Alford’s trade? What do you think? Email your views or comment on this story using the form below.