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COMMENT: What will it take to fix the market?

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 11, 2014

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THIS week on page six we ask a simple question that could be rather complicated to answer.

Ashbourne’s market needs help. Where that help may come from remains to be seen but the simple fact is we, like Bakewell, are a market town.

We ask this week why Bakewell Market is thriving while Ashbourne looks to be on its knees. What has Bakewell got that we haven’t?

A change in shopping habits is mooted as a big reason for the general decline in market trade dropping off - but that does not affect Bakewell.

A similar distance away, in Donington, there is a bustling weekly market that continues to see huge numbers through its gates every week so perhaps there’s more to it than competition from online shopping and discount high street retailers.

Many believe Ashbourne’s market was doomed to failure on the day the cattle market was closed and this would explain why Bakewell, which still has a livestock auction running alongside its market, is still doing so well.

But other towns’ markets survive without a cattle market nearby so it brings us back to the question: What is going wrong?

A lack of support from the local authority that runs the market has been put forward as a suggestion but Derbyshire Dales District Council is on its knees financially and can only do so much. Does this mean it’s up to the traders to bring in extra punters?

It’s possible there might not be an answer to this difficult conundrum.

But, it’s also possible, some will ask: does there need to be an answer? Do we still want a market?

Is it more valuable in this day and age to have parking spaces than stalls? Will it take more to save the market than it will ever return?

It’s up to you. Please give us your views.

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