Plans to save town’s failing market stalls

A DECLINING market will be given one final boost to coincide with the opening of a new supermarket.

The Friday market in Sandy Car Park has become a shadow of its former self and now boasts just three regular stalls, all of which have reduced in size over the last year.

At a meeting of Sandy Town Council on Monday (August 15) councillors decided to give the market a full strength advertising campaign when Tesco opens in the town.

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Councillors said that they had already given the market a lot of financial support but were loathed to see it fade away.

In the past traders have been reluctant to move into the market square and this location has raised health and safety concerns.

Councillor Colin Osborne said: “I don’t think that we should let it die but I think we should put the advertising on hold for a while because we’ve got a Tesco that should be finished by Easter.

“We are hoping that through Tesco we will keep our shoppers in the town.”

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Councillor Geoff White said: “I think to some extent markets are swimming against the tide but there are reasonably successful ones in Shefford and Biggleswade.

“The last time ours was looking up was when we had a contractor. We should spend some time trying to get someone to run it to give us insight into how it would be better run. Ours is not a very attractive market and I couldn’t do my week’s shopping there. We should give it a reprieve but if this time 12 months hence it’s the same we should consider calling it a day.”

Councillor Martin Pettitt added: “It makes me despair a bit that Sandy, that describes itself as being a market town, may ultimately not have a market at all. It would be a real pity.”

Councillors hope to have an advertising campaign when Tesco opens, possibly with temporary free rent for new traders.