The deadline to vote for ‘Britain’s Favourite Market 2019’ is closing in - and Louth is currently in the top 20 markets across the country.
All votes must be received by November 30, and you can support your local market by visiting www.nabma.com/vote.
Organised by the National Associations of British Market Authorities (NABMA), the annual awards scheme recognises the best markets throughout the country across a range of awards, including Best Food Market, Best Indoor Market and Britain’s Favourite Market - all of which are voted for by the public.
ELDC’s Market Towns and Rural Economy, Councillor Adam Grist, said:“Our markets are a fantastic asset to the district and our wonderful and varied traders play an important role in bringing in visitors to the area. The Great British Market Awards are a chance to recognise how brilliant they are and the value they bring to our towns, so I would encourage everyone to vote for their local market in the Favourite Market Award.”
The news that Louth is currently in the top 20, in terms of votes received across Great Britain, comes just days after the chairman of the Louth Independent Traders group highlighted the importance of the town’s market days.
Chairman Gary Denniss said that around 20 per cent of Louth’s businesses could fall if the market ceased to exist, adding that cafes and coffee shops in particular would be affected.
Mr Denniss was responding to East Lindsey District Council’s Market Scrutiny Panel’s investigation into the future of the authority’s markets.
He said: “The three weekly markets are an integral part of the town and most businesses in the town rely on markets to bring footfall to the town.
“The major benefit is to food and coffee shops but other retailers see an increase to footfall. However, there are some sectors that see a decrease as locals don’t come into town on market days as it is too busy for them.”
Mr Denniss said challenges came in the form of costs, and accepted that there weren’t enough stall holders, but said changes to the cultural offering would have a positive impact on the town. The panel’s investigation aims to improve the district’s markets and to make them run ‘optimally’.
Panel chairman, Councillor Ros Jackson, said in the documents: “The retail world is undergoing changes as spending shifts online and the reasons people visit town centres change”
She points to rises in online shopping and says that between 2015-2017, East Lindsey’s takings from markets fell from £123,000 to £103,000.
In 2017/18 most of the ELDC-run markets were ‘loss making’ with a deficit of £79,347 in 2017/18, with some savings made through car parking.
Coun Jackson said: “Yet markets are so crucial to local identity in East Lindsey’s inland towns that they feature in their very name ‐ market towns.
“Markets contribute to town vibrancy and social life, and their measurable increase to town centre footfall on market days supports brick‐and‐mortar retailers, contributing to the sustainability of a town.”
The documents conclude that the authority’s current markets budget is justified.
Councillors will today (Tuesday) be given reports on enforcement, signage, anti-social behaviour concerns and the success of markets such as Spilsby which has seen a 300 per cent rise in stall numbers since its town council intervened.
Recommendations include creating a five-year plan, further investments, employing a supervisor to enforce regulations and changes to payment systems as well as creating new initiatives to encourage young people and addressing anti-social behaviour concerns.