Shuttered stalls on Northampton Market? To help bring our market into the modern world, and to make it more competitive against the supermarkets, a limited number of shuttered stalls would give many advantages, like refrigerated storage of perishable goods, for example.
Present planning laws will not allow permanent fixed units of any kind, but stalls that are in some way dismountable and removable, as with the present catering units and the mobile Market Office, appear to be exempt.
Obviously, any such changes would have to be in keeping with the aesthetic of a traditional market with a long history; be non-controversial, and add value by bringing new and under-represented trades to our market. Such trades would bring in much-needed footfall and revived interest in what our market has to offer.
Market traders today face serious pressures and far-reaching trade challenges from a plethora of £1 Shops, charity shops, and the cheaper end of the supermarket trade. Not to mention the Internet, where businesses like Amazon and Ebay can supply many everyday goods cheaper than the supermarkets, to your door, post paid.
Markets and High Streets are in decline nationally, except perhaps in busy tourist areas. But if you look at the busiest markets, you will find that many of them have at least a good sprinkling of semi-permanent or dismountable shuttered units, affording usable space for a rich diversity of trades and crafts. Clearly there is an opportunity to enhance our present marketplace by the introduction of a limited number of such units, facilitating the appearance of many new crafts and trades which our market does not currently have.
Layout of such units is for others to decide, but there are plenty of good examples to study. If you have ever walked around Norwich Market, for example, you can find a large variety of stalls with a huge variety of goods and crafts rarely seen on Northampton Market. Norwich traders can lock up and leave their shuttered stalls at night, without a great deal of breaking down displays and loading vans. They bring goods into their stalls as goods are sold, without having to move the entirety every night. There is no doubt that a limited number of shuttered stalls would enable our market to offer start up opportunities to local crafts people and entrepreneurs, as well as a greater diversity of trades.
Therefore I recommend that NBC look into this exciting possibility of breathing new life into Northampton Market, study good market examples, identify suitable dismountable units, and consult traders and local people for their views.
May’s Gamble Backfires! As a professional poker player, I’m aware that she ignored the first rule of successful gambling: “Never play with resources you cannot afford to lose”.
Unfortunately, she has not only gambled with her own future, but with all of ours too.
What’s the odds on her leaving the table pretty soon after the parliamentary reccess?