A GREEN light has been given to plans for an extended farmers’ market each month in Ashbourne.
After a successful first event held in Ashbourne Town Hall on Thursday, Derbyshire Dales District Council’s environment committee met at Matlock Town Hall that evening to discuss an application by farmers’ market organiser, Michelle Scattergood, to extend the event out into Ashbourne Market Place to run alongside the regular weekday market once a month.
A recommendation by officers to approve a 12 month trial of the scheme was supported by councillors, who gave the go-ahead to the trial.
Almost a year ago, the district council agreed to a 12 month stay of execution for the struggling Thursday market, after severe losses over several years.
Since then, traders have attempted to revive weekday trade, but few measures have provided the substantial boost needed to rescue the ailing enterprise.
A farmers’ market has been on the agenda for Ashbourne at several points in recent years, but has never got off the ground until now.
Michelle Scattergood has worked in retail for more than 20 years and has spent much of that time as a market trader.
She launched a vintage and flea market earlier this year, which proved a remarkable success and is hoping to give market traders and retailers a boost by offering the farmers’ market each month.
Mrs Scattergood said: “I’m really pleased that the council have given us the 12 month trial. All the stall-holders who came on Thursday have re-booked and I have got other traders who want to come and now they can.
“I’ve got people bringing treacle tarts and bakewell tarts, a butcher, someone bringing herbs and someone else with wine.
“I’ve already got almost double the number of businesses for the next farmers’ market and the regular Thursday market traders seem pleased that the farmers’ market has attracted more people into the town.
“I’ve also been in touch with Arts Derbyshire to see if any designer-makers are interested in coming along.
“Fingers crossed now that we can build it up and make it as successful as Bakewell.”
Ashbourne Town Mayor and district councillor Steve Bull is chairman of the environment committee at the district council and conducted the meeting on Thursday when the decision for the trial was made.
Councillor Bull said: “The farmers’ market has got to be a wonderful thing for the town.
“It can only help the market traders and the Thursday market, which doesn’t always get the best turn out.
“We are desperate to keep the Thursday market in the town and I believe the first farmers’ market was very successful.
“I hope it will bring people into the town and it can only be a good thing for the retailers and residents.
“We full support it as a council.
“You can never say anything is definite, but this can only help the Thursday market to remain in the town as a market that is thriving won’t be under threat.”
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