Market may have to change

PUBLISHED: 12:03 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:00 06 May 2010

Two letters in last week s Comet both pointed to differing situations, but both are part of the unstoppable progression brought about by that which has always been resisted by some but never prevented: It is what we call, change – some would say progress.

Two letters in last week's Comet both pointed to differing situations, but both are part of the unstoppable progression brought about by that which has always been resisted by some but never prevented: It is what we call, change - some would say progress.

Whether it is the decline of Hitchin market or the closing of Letchworth's general post office they are both the victims of ever-changing choices that have always been part of new ideas and increase in technology that has changed the way we live our lives both at work, leisure, and domestically.

I believe there is only a requirement for a smaller market in Hitchin. It seems that the fruit and vegetables, along with nursery products, are the main stalls that attract the public, without which there would be a much greater decline.

Why do some of the people of Letchworth imagine that they should be more worthy, or successful, than others in stopping the closure of the general post office? Hitchin had theirs closed many years ago, and the resiting of its services twice in areas of existing shops seems to work quite successfully. The public also had to walk in a slightly differing direction to locate it. But nobody died! Which is more than can be said of the many seriously troubled parts of the world, I think the saying count your blessings comes readily to mind!

IVAN MARTIN, The Limes, Hitchin

* I write with reference to the letter from Mrs S Newlands about Hitchin Market. She comments that the council does nothing to support the market. This is far from the truth and I trust that you will allow me the opportunity to illustrate why.

The council has been working to improve the situation for Hitchin's markets for some time. This has included structural improvements, improvements to the toilets, cleaning and maintenance and substantial amounts of advertising.

We also have ensured that we work collaboratively both with the Market Traders Association and the Hitchin Committee of the council. The council has recently made additional funds available to reduce rents for stalls on Tuesdays and Saturdays. This approach was adopted following a recommendation from the Market Traders Association. To date this has resulted in an increase in the number of stallholders to more than 100 on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The market toilets are cleaned and inspected regularly and there is a disabled toilet and a ramp to the market.

The market area is cleaned on every market day at 6am, the bins near the cafe are emptied during the day and there is a further clear-up at the end of each market day. Occasionally rats have been seen in the area, as a result of being next to the river, and these incidences are acted upon immediately.

There is an on-going maintenance programme and all the gutters and drains have recently been cleared.

With regard to the farmers' market, this is held on the fourth Tuesday of each month in the Market Place not within the main market.

NHDC recently produced a leaflet promoting the attractions of the market as a vital part of Hitchin and has arranged a programme of special events to give shoppers even more reasons to visit us. NHDC is fully committed to ensuring that the market thrives and grows.

I trust that my comments show that the council is committed to supporting the markets in Hitchin and contrary to Mrs Newlands' comments has acted positively as well as investing financially in the market.

Market manager Lance Raperport would be very happy to show Mrs Newlands around the market, point out the improvements we have made and introduce her to some of our lively and knowledgeable stall holders. Please contact Lance at the Market Office on 01462 456202.

Councillor IAN KNIGHTON, Portfolio Holder Responsible for Leisure (including Markets), North Herts District Council.

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