The future of street markets in three towns across Flintshire have been much debated during the latest town council meetings.
Some councillors maintain that Holywell, Flint and Connah’s Quay’s street markets represent history and culture, while others suggest the stalls financially offer nothing to the town or county.
Flint mayor Vicky Perfect told the town council in October: “The general view of the public is that the road should be opened on Church Street, and I have to agree with that. The amount of stalls that turn up doesn’t warrant Church Street to be closed for cars.
“Flint Town Council hasn’t got the money to pay for it to be wardened on market day.”
Niall Waller, enterprise and regeneration manager at Flintshire Council, told the town council: “There is an option to do business but it is sad to say only a few markets stay for a long period of time.
“Trade is being lowered, and we are very conscious in Flint of the location, including the closure of the street on a Friday.”
The Leader took to Flint town centre to gauge public opinion on the street market, which attracted many visitors since the early 1200s and especially in the 1970s.
Eileen Oulton, from Sychdyn, said: “I never shop on the High Street anymore – I did when the market was in its heyday, and to be honest, when the banks were still open.
“The retail park however is fairly good as it has lots of free parking, and everything is in a convenient distance.
“I don’t shop at the market because it’s only on a Friday and I tend to do other things on that day. I shop at the retail park for convenience and variety, and I probably won’t shop at the street market again.”
John McMurray, from Connah’s Quay, said: “Me and my wife shop at Flint Retail Park twice a month because the choice is good and it has competitive prices.
“We never shop at the street market, and we didn’t even when it was busy back in the day. It has no future. We prefer to go to Chester market.”
Alison and Gary Eden, from Manchester, said: “We drive through the street but we never stop at the market. We have a caravan in Prestatyn so we shop at Towyn market which is massive compared to Flint.
“We did do Flint market once but it only had about two stalls. It could do with being a bit better because it doesn’t make sense shutting the whole street and restricting traffic for three small stalls.
“Parking is also great at the retail park – and it’s free.”
Carol and Paul Bevan, from Holywell, said they travel from Holywell to Flint every week due to the wider variety of goods and stores on Flint Retail Park.
Mrs Bevan said: “It’s a shame for Holywell because there’s not a lot of choice on the street market and other than that, there’s no other shops to go to on Holywell High Street.
“As for Flint market, we would go if there were other stalls but it’s not big enough to attract us there as it is. Flint retail park has many more different things and is more varied than the market.”
Paul Chand, of The Famous Fruit Stall, said: “This market stall has been here since 1953, back when the market was by the Town Hall.
“Our sales tend to increase in the festive build up, and I’ve sold a lot of wreaths and trees today. I do one day a week here, and a Saturday in Mold. I have a lot of faithful customers here but Mold is always so busy and Flint is nothing compared to Mold.
“I’ve been working on this stall with my dad since I was about eight-years-old, and I’ve definitely seen it decline over the years.”
Sarah Machell, from Flint, said: “I’ve been to Shotton today because there is a lot more on offer there, with many different kinds of shops.
“I can almost do all my shopping there in one hit. It does get boring in Flint because the market is one day a week and only really does fruit and vegetables. Other than that it’s just Iceland and that’s getting boring.
“I live in Flint so its nice to get out somewhere else. But it is a shame because there’s nothing on the markets.”
The future of Flint, Holywell and Connah’s Quay street markets will be discussed at later dates following reviews from Flintshire council, and the independent stall holders.
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