Traders launch petition against closing Wrexham's Farmers' Market

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

TRADERS have launched a petition against closing Wrexham’s monthly Farmers’ Market.

The market in Queens Square will pitch up for the final time on March 19 following the council’s decision to stop running it.

The council says reduced attendances and a pressure on public finances have forced the decision to shut the facility but market traders, many of whom have been at the market since it started in 2001, say they are disgusted.

Eileen Gilpin, a member of Wrexham Country Market, formerly the WI Market, said: “A lot of customers don’t even know we’re closing. They are all aghast.

“We feel the market not only brings additional people into the town centre, but also helps promote Wrexham as a true market town.

“In times where most of the large chain stores have now relocated to Eagles Meadow, we would ask the council to review this decision in order to attract more people into the town centre.

“The market is important because the local people come and have a chat, which they don’t always get in the big multiple shops.”

Mrs Gilpin say the stallholders have launched a petition.

Customer Sylvia Cornish said: “They are spoiling our town and driving people out.”

Rona Williams, of the Wrexham Country Market stall, says they hold other markets in Rossett, Gresford and Acton, but that the Queens Square spot makes the most profit.

She said that on average the country stall would lose about £1,000 a month.

The stallholders all pay rent to the council and in return the local authority puts up the stalls.

Claire Latham, from the Knolton Farm stall, said: “We’re all paying rent so what on earth are the guys charging to put up the stalls? We will have to go elsewhere. We have no choice.”

Cllr Rodney Skelland, Wrexham Council’s lead member for regeneration and corporate governance, said: “Most of the farmers who originally took part have fallen away over the years and it’s been difficult to recruit new producers.

“As a result, the criteria for farmers’ markets – as set by the National Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association (FARMA) – is no longer being met, as many of the goods on sale aren’t produced by the stallholder.

“Shoppers’ interest has fallen, stall rents have never covered the running costs and at a time when public finances are under pressure, it’s sadly no longer possible for us to fund the event.

“However, Wrexham still has some thriving outdoor markets and regular stallholders have been made aware of other opportunities to sell their goods in the town.”

Other outdoor markets include the Monday market on Queen’s Square and the recently introduced Town Centre Forum market, which takes place four times a year.

Both events generate enough rental income to cover their running costs.

See full story in the Leader

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