By RICHARD WOOD
Monday, April 30, 2012
A council will meet on Tuesday as they decide on the future of a Friday road closure that was designed to help the town’s weekly market.
Beccles Town Council will make their recommendations on the order that has closed New Market on Fridays from 6am to 4pm.
There were few objections before it was introduced in August, but after a series of complaints from businesses about falling trade, a consultation was held to gauge public opinion.
This could lead to the market being moved and the road reopened again, but the market traders have criticised this by saying that it has not been given enough time.
Karen Warne, who runs the Hazy Daisy Clothing stall, said that the road closure has enabled several new stall holders to take their first step in business.
“Although it is fair to say Beccles Market is only half full or half empty, depending on which way you want to look at it, nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that Beccles Market has near enough trebled in size, since the road closure last year,” said Mrs Warne, of Ringsfield.
“Not many new enterprises can claim to have done this in such a short period of time, especially in times of austerity.”
She added that the market needed time to fulfil its potential, with new traders currently on a waiting list while they waited to hear the future of the road closure.
Market trader Dominic Parkes added: “I am great advocate of Beccles and want it to succeed; the trouble is looking backwards is not a good way of succeeding.”
However, businesses complained that the road closure has hit their trade and united to collect a 2,058 signature petition against it.
Christine Pinsent, chairman of the Beccles Business Association, said that the local independent retailers in the town centre were unhappy that they had seen a fall in their takings.
Mike Sturman, of Focus 23, added he was not against the market but that he would like to see it moved so that the road could be open.
A public consultation was held into the road closure for the weekly market and forms the basis of a report by Suffolk county councillor Chris Punt.
It explains that the market has extended from an average of seven stalls a week to 15, but that businesses have said they have seen a decrease in footfall and takings in their shops by 20-50pc on Fridays.
The town council will make their recommendation at the meeting at 7pm on Tuesday at the Town Hall.