A rallying call for town’s market hall

Councillor Bernice Harrison at Fleetwood Market.
Councillor Bernice Harrison at Fleetwood Market.

USE it or lose it! That’s the warning from a Fleetwood Town councillor who fears Fleetwood Market is on a downward spiral.

Coun Bernice Harrison says the market needs more support from local people otherwise it could end up being lost altogether.

There are 12 empty stalls which have shut down in the last year and Cllr Harrison says traders are suffering at the hands of the economic situation.

And that has been compounded by the tramwork situation and lack of support.

She said: “So far we’ve lost the cheese stall, the veg stall and the fish stall. There are 12 empty spots and they are not being filled.

“We are always reading that the market is blooming and there is a waiting list for stalls, but where are these people wanting a stall?

“It can’t be blamed purely on the tramwork situation,.

“It hasn’t helped but there has been a bus service to replace it which has brought tourists in.

“But again we cannot rely on tourists to keep it going.

“I want to appeal to the public to try and use it more, tourists are only there for a short time, then they go off to Freeport.”

The busiest day for Fleetwood Market has historically been a Tuesday.

And although that is still the case, Coun Harrison says that even Tuesdays are suffering.

“No-one is fighting for them, or with them and if it continues I think the market could be facing real difficulties.”

Wyre Council says the Market has a very successful three stall rule which means that traders selling the same or similar goods have to be at least three stalls away from each other in all directions. The council also pointed out that it was 12 stalls out of 185 that were empty, equating to a 92 per cent occupancy, way above some other markets which are only attracting 30 to 50 per cent occupancy.

Councillor Barry Birch, Cabinet member with responsibility for Fleetwood Market, said: “These stalls won’t be empty for long so people shouldn’t be concerned that the market is in decline. We are already processing applications for seven of the stalls and we expect to fill the others from April.

“The tramway works and the wider economy will have affected trade to a certain extent, but despite this the market is still going strong. The council considers it a real asset in Fleetwood so rest assured that we will continue to take every opportunity to promote its appeal both locally and nationally.

“We would also encourage more Fleetwood residents to support such a well respected shopping centre.”