Katy Griffin, Reporter
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Honiton’s ancient street market under attack from persistent wet weather and ailing economy.
Honiton’s ancient street market, so ingrained in the history of the town that its charter is celebrated annually, is under attack - from persistent wet weather and the ailing economy.
The town council’s takings from letting stalls at the market was 16 per cent down for the first six months of 2012, compared to last year.
Councillor Les Bayliss revealed the figure at a policy committee meeting on Monday night.
However, the market, which boasts everything from local produce to antiques, held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, is expected to be run within budget this year.
The town council is keen to encourage more shoppers to use the market - and says, although it is still thriving, it could become a case of ‘use it or lose it’.
Money raised by the council from the market goes back into the community, keeping council tax bills down.
Councillor Bayliss told Monday night’s meeting: “The financial situation of the market is that it is 16 per cent down for the same period last year.
“However, as bad as that may seem, the market manager is still predicting it will come within budget by the end of the year.”
Mr Bayliss reported that the market had taken approximately £3,500 per month in letting charges.
During a previous meeting, of the street market management group, the market’s manager, Tony McCollum, said the downward trend was due to weather conditions experienced during the first half of the year and the current economic climate in relation to people’s spending power.
Councillor Bayliss also reported that a potential problem had arisen in regards to the storage of equipment for the market.
He explained that the site where the equipment was currently being held has outline planning permission and was being viewed by developers.
Alternative options of storage will be discussed by the street market management group.
Fancy being a stallholder in Honiton? Find out more by calling the town council office on 01404 42957.