January 12, 2012 The Sentinel
HARD-PRESSED traders have called for a promotion campaign to increase footfall at a town’s ailing outdoor market.
Four markets operated by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council now cost more to operate than the £208,000 income they yield.
The worst hit is Leek’s outdoor market, which has space for 77 stalls, but only attracts 20 regular traders.
Councillors were last night told Leek’s award-winning fine food festival, held on the third Saturday of every month, and Cheadle outdoor market, were also struggling.
The speciality market has a capacity of 30 stalls, but there are only 12 regular traders. It has fallen victim to competition from North Rhode, Stone and Bakewell.
Struggling stallholders could now face an increase in rent to reduce “significant” operating losses.
Community leaders at a meeting of the council’s service delivery overview last night expressed fears the decline in markets could take its toll on other town centre businesses.
But despite concerns, traders at Leek’s outdoor market yesterday remained upbeat.
They said the appointment of market superintendent Kevin Hulme had helped attract more traders.
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