A major revamp of Boston’s ‘tired and rundown’ market could be on the cards.
District councillors are being asked to get behind a number of ideas designed to reinvigorate the popular twice-weekly market.
A number of proposals have come out of an eight-month consultation exercise involving the public, businesses, market stall holders themselves, and students from some of the town’s schools.
A report outlining concerns raised and ways to take the market forward on the back of this consultation went before the council’s environment and performance committee last night (Tuesday).
Recommendations from a ‘Task and Finish’ group set up to look at the market include investigating the possibility of a welcome archway sign to greet visitors arriving at the market.
It also suggests specific ‘zoning’ of areas in the market, looking at introducing a ‘cultural offering’ to support it, considering allowing school students to set up stalls during their holidays, and increasing the size of signage directing people to the market.
The review of the market comes on the back of concerns about the decline in traders and their income and the potential loss of visitors and local people supporting the market this could cause.
In their response, businesses in the town all felt the market was an asset, and the majority felt visitors came to town specifically for the market.
Concerns were raised about the look of the market, including the suggestion it was ‘straggly and unkempt’.
Respondents also felt the public preferred more traditional markets.
They also raised the issue of better signage for the market.
Members of the public agreed it was an asset, but felt it looked ‘tired and rundown’ according to the report and were also keen to see better signage and better promotion of the market.
In their response, 95 per cent of traders felt footfall had decreased over the last two years, and the majority were keen to see pedestrianisation of Market Place on market days, and better promotion.
The council also asked four local schools – Boston Grammar School, Boston High School, Giles Academy and Haven High Academy – to carry out their own review of the market to give a ‘younger perspective’.
Their suggestions included the provision of some sort of welcome sign at Wide Bargate, better signage, the provision of street performers like musicians and dance groups, along with cultural events, a dedicated artisan food area, zoning of the market, making the market cleaner, pedestrianisation on market days, and a youth market manned by young stall holders.
The report to last night’s committee concludes that the review had produced quality consultation responses which confirmed support for the continuation of the markets from “both members of the public, including students, and from the many businesses in and around the town.
“Furthermore the responses provided options on a number of new ways of facilitating the markets in taking them forward and improving their offer.”