WREXHAM markets have a future.
That was the clear message from a meeting last night.
Wrexham Council’s employment, business and investment scrutiny committee members discussed a report of the town centre markets task and finish group.
A number of recommendations were put forward for members to discuss aimed at improving communication in the market.
These included commissioning a company to undertake a feasibility study, enabling members to consider options for the long-term future development of the town centre markets.
Cllr Alun Jenkins said: “There is a future for the markets in Wrexham and the markets are a vital part of the economy in the town.
“But we need some thoughts from outside because we are not experts.”
The committee is seeking funding through the Welsh Government’s Vibrant and Viable Places regeneration to help fund this.
Another recommendation being put forward is for a survey of market traders and customers to establish a benchmark against which the outcomes of planned improvements can be measured annually.
Cllr Dana Davies said it was essential to making sure council money was being invested into the markets correctly and to make sure traders and customers are satisfied with what is being done.
In order to help fill the market the task and finish group has also recommended more support through the application process for a stall, making it easier for potential stallholders to get into the market.
Rob Clarke, a trader in the Butchers’ Market, said: “It is key someone picks up the phone and talks people through the process properly. It’s obvious to everyone here but it is not being done. If someone was to do it next week we would get tenants in right away.
Calls were made for footfall counters to be installed in each of the three markets where physically possible, although the cost of these was said to amount to about £18,000 to install so other ideas like getting students with clickers were suggested.
The frequency of monitoring the progress of the markets was debated and councillors decided to have an information report in six months to see how changes are affecting the market and whether they are being successful.
However, it was revealed that because there had been a drop in market occupancy from 67 per cent to 62 per cent since April, the market had taken a financial hit, although committee chairman Rodney Skelland said there had been improvements over the last couple of months which would hopefully mean the market would be back to where it was.
Cllr Skelland said: “We are really talking about basic management and financial management and more interaction with traders.”
l WREXHAM’s three markets are rolling out improvements over the next four months to encourage more shoppers.
In a presentation to the employment, business and investment scrutiny committee one of the market managers said they had plenty of ideas to try to get people in.
These included a new logo, holding joint events, entertainment, children’s activities, having a money back scheme to spending in the market, engaging with social media and moving Santa Clause’s grotto from Queen’s Square into the People’s Market.
Amanda Davies, marketing and commercial manager, said: “This is about the future. Some things will work and some things will not, but we need to give them a try.”
Mrs Davies also explained how the markets intend to get new traders.
She said the branding was crucial to this as well as advertising campaigns, the promoting of individual stalls, improving the ongoing cleanliness, interacting with potential traders like students and setting up a Love Your Market campaign.
These schemes are set to be rolled out over the next four months .