Fall in Market Income is it a Symptom of Town Centre Decline?
The latest information that Northampton Borough Council has been awarded £100,000 to help bring retail business back into the Northampton Town Centre and especially to open up closed and vacant premises is really good news.
In the past couple of weeks the Government has accepted all of the recommendations from their Town Centre Guru, (Whatever happened to the Conservatives Northampton Town Centre Tsar?), Mary Portas which centres and concentrates on the regeneration of town centres and especially markets.
As one of the most ancient of markets in England there is no doubt that Northampton’s is well worth not only protecting but supporting to make it a vibrant and long-term sustainable entity around which the new Grosvenor Development can be linked with niche independent shops across the town.
It is a commitment that Labour have made and is all the more important when considered against a background of the latest Northampton Borough Council financial information which shows that in the last financial year the market stall income has fallen and is forecast to be down by £45,000.
More worrying still is that this is against the background of a reported 8% increase in town centre footfall, (the number of people who visited the town centre) in December 2011 compared to December 2010.
Though it has to be taken into account the difference in weather in the two months.
What is of greatest concern is the number of retail shops that are closing on an almost week by week basis which when it reaches a”critical level” will see an acceleration in the decline of the town centre, consequential reduced footfall and cause damage to the market.
It is an issue that needs everyone who wants to see the regeneration of Northampton into a vibrant retail and leisure centre to be fully committed to delivering.