'Pop up' market will help to revive Leek, say Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
TRADERS selling their wares at a 'pop up' market are hoping it will become a permanent feature in the town.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is trialling a scheme to have 15 stalls set up at the Monument end of Derby Street, Leek, every Wednesday.
The move will mean the traditional Wednesday market is split between two sites.
Paul Jacklin, from Leek, was among the traders who have made the move from the cobbled Market Place to the new site, which the council has named Sparrow Park.
Speaking to The Sentinel at yesterday's market, he said: "So far the move has been very successful, particularly when you consider the terrible weather. My first week in the new location was my best since I set up my stall in September. You get a lot of passing trade at this end of Derby Street and shoppers seem to be really responding to having a street market."
Paul runs a gift stand and says he will choose to trade in Derby Street if the council makes the move permanent.
He added: "There is a plan to build a Premier Inn at this end of the town so if that comes in I think this will be a really good place to trade."
The council has set up the pop-up market after successfully bidding for a £25,000 grant from the High Street Innovation Fund.
It held three trial days in December and will need to pay £11,000 to hire the stalls from a private contractor for the five-month trial.
Johnny Hamilton, who has run a bakery stall at Leek Market for the last 12 months, originally fought the move to the Derby Street site but admits his trade has significantly improved since the relocation.
Johnny, from Stockport, said: "I didn't want to go at all. My customers were up in arms about me having to move locations. As much as I liked being in the market place, there is a lot more footfall for me here. There are usually people queuing to buy my produce. I would definitely stay on here if I was offered the choice."
Ben Pollard, from Leicester, who now runs his fruit and veg stall from Derby Street, said: "This scheme has got promise. We won't really know how well it goes until we have better weather conditions but it could really work for Leek. We run our stall in Swadlincote and that's just won best small outdoor market in the UK."
The council said permanently moving some of the stalls to Derby Street would free-up much-needed parking spaces on the Market Place.
But trader Edie Jackson, from Leek, who runs Flossies jewellery shop in the indoor market thinks the new set up could have a negative impact on trade as a whole.
She said: "I don't think it will bring extra footfall through here and the danger is that people will drive past those couple of stalls in Derby Street and think that's all there is to Leek market."
A council report into the scheme said: "Early feedback from the traders who transferred to Sparrow Park in Derby Street on the three market days in December has been mixed, but in the main the traders were positive about the concept and felt the space had potential."