Market stalls

BALDOCK market has lost so many traders it is under threat of possible closure. The town, which held its first market in 1199, is able to accommodate 66 pitches on the High Street. But only 12 were occupied last Wednesday and our photographer snapped just

BALDOCK market has lost so many traders it is under threat of possible closure.

The town, which held its first market in 1199, is able to accommodate 66 pitches on the High Street. But only 12 were occupied last Wednesday and our photographer snapped just eight stalls yesterday.

This is part of a growing trend as the market has struggled to attract traders for the past five years.

Wendy Fair Markets Ltd, based in Ruislip, Middlesex, took over the running of the market from North Herts District Council in April and has more than 30 years' experience.


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Company director Nick Hobday said: "It needs support. If people don't use it the market will dwindle.

"There are more traders now than there have been for a couple of years.

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"It's not something that happens instantly but we will just have to work at it over time.

"It's the same for all the shops in the High Street. People need to use them if they are to survive."

Cllr Ian Knighton said: "The market is essential to Baldock but it's been at a stage where there are only three or four stalls.

"It needs people to actually come and shop there or there is always a risk that the market could close."

Cllr Marilyn Kirkland added: "I'm very concerned with the demise of the market because it was very well used here. It used to be so dynamic.

"It will be a great shame if it goes because it's a great asset."

The council aims to develop a close working relationship with Wendy Fair Markets Ltd.

A spokesman for the council said: "We will be working through the Town Centre Partnership to strengthen the economy of the town and to promote Baldock. This includes the development of the market."

The Town Centre Partnership is a scheme devised to encourage businesses to work with the council to improve the town.

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