Appeal over charter market

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A town is appealing to traders and would-be customers to give its charter market a much-needed boost.

Traders at the weekly Shefford market, held on Fridays are concerned after visitor numbers dropped dramatically in a period of just a few weeks.

Ron Storey – who works on the market and runs awnings and blinds firm Blind Inspiration in the town – has been shocked at the sudden downturn.

He said: “Although the number of traders is not very different to how it was, over the last month the footfall in terms of shoppers has just disappeared.

“There are days when you could hear a pin drop, it’s that quiet.”

Ron, who also lives in Shefford believes the weather has played a part but says new stall-holders would definitely help.

He added: “We’re always keen to have more businesses involved.

“On a typical day there will be a fishmonger, fruit and vegetable seller and a florist among the traders so it is quite diverse, but we can always welcome more.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation with the traders and customers really.”

Shefford mayor Paul Mackin says Shefford Town Council is proud to run the market in addition to the monthly farmers’ market.

He said: “The charter market is hundreds of years old and was originally run so market traders could sell straw plait, which was made in the town.

“At one stage it was run by a private company but the town council took it over again five years or so ago when the farmers’ market started up.

“We want to encourage all kinds of businesses and traders to get involved so we charge as little rent as we possibly can.”

The council and traders – who celebrated 700 years since Shefford was first granted its charter this year – are particularly keen to increase footfall and the level of business in the run-up to Christmas.

Anyone who would like to find out more about trading at the charter market can contact the town council on 01462 816321.