Musical boost for St Albans market

PUBLISHED: 19:59 07 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

LIVE music at the Clock Tower could tackle concerns that St Albans markets have been gradually edged away from their rightful home in Market Place. Chris Adkins, of Glenbower Court, Hatfield Road, St Albans claims the last six weeks have seen the market

LIVE music at the Clock Tower could tackle concerns that St Albans markets have been gradually edged away from their "rightful home" in Market Place.

Chris Adkins, of Glenbower Court, Hatfield Road, St Albans claims the last six weeks have seen the markets, which normally extend from the Catherine Street end of town as far down as the Clock Tower in High Street, coming to a full stop around the entrance to Christopher Place.

He said: "I am puzzled why the regular markets have moved out of their historic home. The increased footfall used to make Wednesdays the best weekday trade for resident retailers but now it is the worst according to some traders I have spoken to."

But Councillor Melvyn Teare, portfolio holder for economic development, said many of the 170-strong regular market traders have been on holiday over the last six weeks so the stalls have been squeezed together to fill the gaps.

He said: "They would have been squeezed up towards the main part of town as most traders describe the patch between BHS and Marks and Spencer as 'The Golden Mile'. This is the most profitable area for them so they all want to be there."

He pointed out that between now and Christmas was the busiest time of year for market traders so there should be no problem filling the 170 stalls down as far as the High Street end.

However, Cllr Teare is mindful of the importance of attracting people to the Clock Tower end of town and plans are afoot to offer musicians free live spots there.

Licensing applications have been put in and bands and musicians are invited to apply for dates to play there.

Cllr Teare said: "Whenever we have put music on there before it attracts people down to that end when they hear it. It also acts as a useful showcase for the musicians."

Would-be players should contact market officer Chris Tofts on 01727 866100 to book slots on the dates available.

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