Markets are booming as shoppers seek value

Alistair Bradley
Alistair Bradley
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“The market truly is at the centre of our community.”

The face of traditional markets across Lancashire has changed in recent years.

When the supermarkets started to grow and shoppers could get everything they wanted from the big chains, it was time for market bosses to up their game.

And, as South Ribble Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Strategic Planning and Housing, Coun Cliff Hughes says, the market is again booming.

All 27 stalls are booked out at Leyland Market – and they have a waiting list of stallholders keen to get a slice of the

action.

Coun Hughes added: “We are proud of Leyland Market as it is fully occupied with a waiting list of traders eager to be a part of it.

“We work hard to support local traders with affordable rents and ensure shoppers have an attractive variety of stalls to choose from.

“The market truly is at the centre of our community with 20 of the 27 stallholders living locally.”

Of course what the markets offer is key to getting people to visit and spend their hard earned cash, but stallholders, young and old are breathing life into the markets.

Entrepreneur Lewis Tanser, 22, spotted a gap in the Leyland area for quality men’s clothing.

Unable to afford the lease pricing of the high street Lewis turned to the market

He said: “I chose the market because it only costs £10 a week to rent a stall, compared to the £200 and utility bills it would be to rent a shop.

“By Christmas I aim aiming to have two stalls up and running.

“There is a great atmosphere about the place and the location is perfect.

“We catch a lot of passing trade as people are walking to the bank or up the high street, it’s buzzing.

“The age-range of people coming to the market is so varied, from grandparents to teenagers the place is packed.”

Local people are going back to traditional shopping habits, after falling out of love with mass consumerism.

Mary Braithwaite, 73, of Mead Avenue, Leyland, is no different.

She said: “I buy my meat from Preston, my veg from Chorley and my buns from Leyland.

“I take advantage of my bus pass, we have the best local produce.”

The popularity of Leyland Market is mirrored in neighbouring Chorley where the council has pumped more than £400,000 in to the markets in 2009, and they invested a further £115,00 in 2011.

Malcolm Allen, chairman of the Chorley Traders’ Alliance, said: “Chorley Market is booming and bursting at the seems for traders.

“This is good news for businesses as it brings people into the town. In the last six to nine months even traders from Bury market are coming to Chorley to set up stalls, which is a big coup for the town.”

Coun Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, added: “There has been a sharp increase in both demand from traders and number of visitors attracted to Chorley.”

In Preston it is hoped investment and redevelopment into the site will also encourage more shoppers to the

market.

Coun Robert Boswell, cabinet member for environment, said: “The council is working closely with the traders on a scheme that will be the best one for Preston Market within the resources that are available, generating another reason to visit the city centre.”