Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Arnold Market: Traders say Wilko closure has affected trade significantly

Traders on Arnold Market have warned the closure of the town’s Wilkos store has affected footfall in the area.

The market is made up of stalls trading on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays selling products including meat, fruit and veg, and fashion.

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But three of the five stallholders on the market said the trade in general is now “on its way out”.

Traders were moved to the square from their original town centre location after 50 years there while the works were carried out on the £4m Arnold Market Place (AMP) development, which opened in 2022.

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Gedling Borough Council is planning for the traders to stay at the Eagle Square location for another year, before a consultation takes place on a permanent relocation.

The consultation was meant to take place in 2022 but was delayed due to “a restructure and changes in staffing”.

Traders said they wanted to stay at their current location.

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Market trader Ben Bradley, who has been working as a trader for 20 years, said he is happy with the current spot as “there’s nowhere else for us to go”.

He said: “The market has been here for two years now so I’d rather we stay.

“Customers have got used to it being here.

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“The footfall was alright but it is quieter now Wilkos has shut.

“When the market was at the old location it was a bit dreary and drab.

“You could have the best stalls in the country but if it’s pouring with rain people won’t come.

“The best thing the council can do is leave us alone, we just get on with it.”

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Andrew Webb, who runs a watch stall, and has been a trader for 40 years, said “Markets aren’t like they used to be”.

He said: “40 years ago there were 100 stalls and they were all full. It took me ages to get a spot there.

“We want the council to arrange a bigger overhang on the stalls because when it rains we’ve got no shelter.

“We relied on Wilkos and now it’s shut it has made a big difference.

“Once people pack it in here we’ll be the last of the Mohicans. There will be no new blood coming through.”

David Rogers, who works on a DVD stall, added: “Now that Wilkos is shut there’s a lot less footfall than before.

“Markets are on their way out and there’s not a lot you can do about it. But I’m happy where we are in this spot.

“I’ve been in the trade for 40 years. I’m pretty busy but if I didn’t have regulars I would struggle.

“No matter what the council do, it won’t make any difference. I trade at Bulwell and Newark as well and they’re struggling.”

Councillor Jenny Hollingsworth, the borough council’s portfolio holder for sustainable growth and economy said: “We’ve approved an extension for Arnold Market to continue to take place at Eagle Square, Arnold, and will be consulting with traders, residents, and businesses to get their views on the location of the market going forwards and what we can do to help improve the site.

“Our Town Centre Manager will be working closely with market traders to explore how the council can support them and help attract more visitors to our town centres.”

•  Arnold: Market traders can stay another year, says council

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