St Albans council hits back at market critics

Market Day in St Albans

Market Day in St Albans - Credit: Archant

A NUMBER of initiatives are in the pipeline to promote St Albans market according to the district council which has been stung by recent criticism from stallholders.

Concern has been voiced about traders being turned away from the market because of lack of stalls, officials not pulling their weight and the lack of a forward plan to develop the medieval market which is the largest in the south east outside London.

But this week the council defended its stance on the market, pointing out that its work plan this year includes a number of initiatives to promote not just the Wednesday and Saturday markets but visiting markets as well.

One option that is being considered is implementing a second farmers’ market in the city to complement the existing market.

The council is also looking at ways in which markets are operated in other areas and are planning to consult with traders together with retailers and other stakeholders.

A three-year development plan is to be put before the council’s cabinet and an investigation is underway into the feasibility of developing a new German-style market this December.

In addition, the council’s museums team is putting together an exhibition about the market which is due to open at the Museum of St Albans in Hatfield Road in October.

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Cllr Beric Read, the council’s portfolio holder for community engagement and localism, said yesterday: “We have got 100-plus stalls today. St Albans has got a long history as a market city and it is an important part of the shopping experience.”

He explained the council’s strategy: “We are developing plans for the market as part of the retail offer of St Albans which is about entertainment and enjoyment of shopping as it has to be in this century.”