Market's future in new hands

PUBLISHED: 11:38 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

Left to right: Market traders Terry Sharman, Steve Clark and Will Jackson

Left to right: Market traders Terry Sharman, Steve Clark and Will Jackson

THE future of a market is in new hands from tomorrow (Friday) in an attempt to revive its flagging fortunes. The man who has been given the responsibility of giving Sandy market the kiss of life is no stranger to the site or market life. Charlie O Brien,

THE future of a market is in new hands from tomorrow (Friday) in an attempt to revive its flagging fortunes.

The man who has been given the responsibility of giving Sandy market the kiss of life is no stranger to the site or market life.

Charlie O'Brien, whose company runs successful markets and car boot sales in Milton Keynes, Pulloxhill and G&M Growers near Biggleswade, not only ran the market until three years ago but sold meat there, as he still does at markets all over Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

Sandy Town Council says the contract to run the market was up for renewal and Mr O'Brien's was the best bid.

"The market is dying and Mr O'Brien has the experience to hopefully revive it," said council clerk Trevor Stewart.

"Something positive has got to be done otherwise it will continue to struggle."

On average there are only 10 stalls at the Friday market but Mr O'Brien hopes that will double.

Walking around an almost deserted market last Friday talking to stallholders, Mr O'Brien was full of enthusiasm as he spoke about the future.

"We could do with a few more stalls offering people more of what they really want for normal everyday and family life," said Mr O'Brien.

"It's a chilly day and not one store is selling gloves, scarves or socks to keep you warm.

"We have also got to think of children and start selling things for them like quality toys. I would like to have over 20 stalls here.

"Above all we have got to have a market that is genuinely for the people and make them want to come here on a Friday. This is why we must attract more stalls with a wider variety of goods for sale, then people will support the market.

"It is not going to be an easy job. But I have been in this game for a long time and hopefully I will be able to persuade good market businesses to come here.

"The place has got to have a good feel about it then people will come and spend money here. Hopefully we can get the place buzzing over the next few weeks in time for Christmas."

All stallholders want to see a revival of the market that first opened in 1976.

Terry Sharman, who has been selling plants and flowers at the market for 23 years, said: "More traders would help and a better variety of stalls might bring more people here. But it is a struggle some Fridays with so few people around."

Pet food stall holder Will Jackson has been running his business for two years.

"Better parking for people wanting to come here would help," said Mr Jackson.

Steve Clark has been running his DVD and video stall for just a year and is also keen to see a change. he said: "It could be better and it would be great to see new blood here.

"We get a lot of good punters but we could do with more and hopefully with the place under new management this might change.

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