After the decision at Council earlier this month, members of Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet have met with local market traders, representatives of the National Federation of Market Traders, and other experts as part of Cabinet’s discussion on the future of Lancaster Market.
This special working group, open to all members of Cabinet, has met three times over the last week and spent more than 12 hours listening to information and advice and asking questions, as well as discussing a number of issues and options for reducing the market’s current deficit of more than £400,000 a year.
The views of the Cabinet working group, which will meet again on Thursday (18th March) and Tuesday 23rd March, will enable Cabinet to make formal proposals to Council on the future of the market.
In addition to hearing from the existing market traders, on two occasions, and the National Federation of Market Traders, the working group has gathered evidence from the National Association of British Market Authorities, Cushman and Wakefield (the agents hired by the council following an earlier Cabinet decision to find a retailer for the market), the strategic director of Blackburn with Darwen Council (which itself is undergoing changes regarding its market), and Quarterbridge (specialists in the development of retail markts).
On Thursday it will discuss the options with the Chamber of Commerce.
In a joint statement, Lancaster City Council’s Cabinet said: “The city council and local taxpayers are losing more than £400,000 a year in running Lancaster Market which is not sustainable. We need to find a way forward for the future of the market.
“We appreciate the public interest in the future of the market and these sessions have been helpful in helping us gather evidence that will be key to helping Cabinet to prepare its proposals. Our thanks to everyone who has participated.”
Cabinet will formally meet on 23rd March at 3.30pm (not 2pm as previously indicated) at Lancaster Town Hall to prepare its proposals to Council. Options include, amongst others, consideration of a business plan from the market traders, the alternative of a single storey market, alternative market sites and the option of a single trader.
A report will then be prepared for consideration by Full Council at a special meeting on March 31 which will be held at 6pm at Lancaster Town Hall.