LETTER: Parking part of market problem
Paul Webber asked why so few of the market stalls are taken up.
Well, I lived in Chesterfield as a teenager, and returned last year after some decades away. I thought the church has greatly improved and is lovely.
I also noticed the lack of stalls in the market and was sorry there’s no reason to visit the market hall anymore, it used to have all kinds of wonderful stalls.
I wondered why the decline, and noticed that people are spread too thinly in the town, and parking is terrible.
So, I would suggest improving parking and, yes, just cut down the number of market stalls.
Many people don’t want to shop and stand around all day in the cold and wet when they don’t have to in these days of online shopping. But it is nice to have a little market selling good stuff, and some outdoor life when the weather is okay. A small and nice market is better than a large and obviously unpopular one.
MORE ON THIS: Why are there empty market stalls?
The rest of the market square could be used for parking, which is not picturesque but I bet people would use it.
The aim could be to use it for other things eventually of course.
I would suggest a once weekly food auction, not the overpriced farmers’ markets but like rural auctions elsewhere in the UK where you can buy several pounds of meat or veg at knockdown prices, a sort of cash and carry warehouse auction. It won’t look so good on the tourist brochures but I reckon people would come and the market square would be used again.
I also suggest the council considers creating a large space where people with retail ideas can just sell their stuff, not only the usual crafts but a huge variety like there used to be at the indoor market or like you see at car boot sales.
Many folk want to make extra money but don’t want to pay business rates.
Maybe somewhere in Knifesmithgate would offer such a space?
It is certainly better than being full of dossers.
The best way to keep the town alive is to put something in it that people genuinely want, and make it easy for them to park when they get there. While they are there they will buy at other shops and that will help keep the bigger retailers happy too.