Radical thinking needed to keep Darlington's markets sustainable, councillor argues

The Advertiser Series: Radical thinking needed to keep Darlington's markets sustainable, councillor argues Radical thinking needed to keep Darlington's markets sustainable, councillor argues

TRADERS should look at what they can do themselves to bring more customers into Darlington’s markets, as well as expecting the council to make improvements, a councillor has argued.

Councillor Paul Harman told a meeting of Darlington Borough Council’s place scrutiny committee that he felt some traders did not realise just how radically the market needed to change if it is to survive.

The historic Covered Market is the subject of a review by the place scrutiny committee to look at how it can be improved with an eye to keeping it sustainable in the face of modern shopping habits.

Informal talks have taken place between council officers, councillors and traders in the market hall, with more formal discussions planned at the town hall.

At the informal talks traders raised concerns about parking around the market hall and suggested that parking enforcement officers are a little too ‘enthusiastic’.

Traders also asked for the market hall to be painted, for the market to be more widely promoted around the town and to be better integrated with the outdoor market.

Councillor Harman said he had concerns that some traders did not realise the role they had to play in improving the market’s offer to customers.

Referring to a discussion he took part in at the town centre conference, held in March, Coun Harman said: “This review is going well in my opinion, but I was a bit disturbed when I attended the conference and sat in on the markets group discussion.

“I don’t think some of them realise how radical the refurbishment of the market needs to be. People are still stuck with nostalgia for a market arrangement that no longer works in a modern economy.

“People are apt to blame the lack of parking space for the fact that what they are offering the public is no longer working.

“We are very exposed in the modern economy but you have to accept that if you don’t refresh your offer then there will come a time when you lose customers. The council can’t help with that.”

Coun Harman pointed out that several traders did make positive suggestions about the future of the market, including the idea of performance spaces and longer trading hours.

Members of the committee agreed to continue discussions with the traders and to consider all ideas for the future of the markets.

Comments (14)

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1:57pm Wed 9 Apr 14

charliebrown1 says...

council should stop charging so much to park then maybe people with visit the market!!!
council should stop charging so much to park then maybe people with visit the market!!! charliebrown1
  • Score: 7

1:59pm Wed 9 Apr 14

charliebrown1 says...

the council are the ones keeping customers away - i dont see what the market holders can do to improve this!!!
the council are the ones keeping customers away - i dont see what the market holders can do to improve this!!! charliebrown1
  • Score: 11

2:36pm Wed 9 Apr 14

JJ2000 says...

Hang on DBC.
I thought BID was supposed to be bringing in loads and loads of people with spending money.
That was the exact purpose of extorting money from local businesses and illegally enforcing this illegal scam, sorry, I mean scheme, wasn't it?
Hang on DBC. I thought BID was supposed to be bringing in loads and loads of people with spending money. That was the exact purpose of extorting money from local businesses and illegally enforcing this illegal scam, sorry, I mean scheme, wasn't it? JJ2000
  • Score: 9

2:45pm Wed 9 Apr 14

calumannabel says...

I stood Darlington market in the mid 1970's and was 104th casual in the list for a permanent stall. Now I doubt 100 stalls are occupied a fortnight. I moved to do the Scottish markets which were privately run by operators who knew what they were doing. Sunday trading has killed many markets although it shouldn't have affected Darlington as nothing happens at all in Darlington on a Sunday.
The traffic wardens are a disgrace on a Sunday and are chasing shoppers away by the dozen so 'over enthusiastic' is a conservative description.
The lighting and décor of the indoor market is appalling - poor value for money for any trader and too many traders buying sub standard goods from the Manchester cash and carries to peddle to the unsuspecting public up here.
The clothing stalls are the same from the same sources and no one would want to buy an outfit from either the indoor or the outdoor market. With a few more up market stalls a different profile of shopper with more money in his or her pocket might visit. Until then the council will continue to milk the rents and the traders will remain disillusioned.
Go and look at how the best London markets are organised or write a begging letter for help to Mary Portas.
I stood Darlington market in the mid 1970's and was 104th casual in the list for a permanent stall. Now I doubt 100 stalls are occupied a fortnight. I moved to do the Scottish markets which were privately run by operators who knew what they were doing. Sunday trading has killed many markets although it shouldn't have affected Darlington as nothing happens at all in Darlington on a Sunday. The traffic wardens are a disgrace on a Sunday and are chasing shoppers away by the dozen so 'over enthusiastic' is a conservative description. The lighting and décor of the indoor market is appalling - poor value for money for any trader and too many traders buying sub standard goods from the Manchester cash and carries to peddle to the unsuspecting public up here. The clothing stalls are the same from the same sources and no one would want to buy an outfit from either the indoor or the outdoor market. With a few more up market stalls a different profile of shopper with more money in his or her pocket might visit. Until then the council will continue to milk the rents and the traders will remain disillusioned. Go and look at how the best London markets are organised or write a begging letter for help to Mary Portas. calumannabel
  • Score: 16

2:52pm Wed 9 Apr 14

limboland says...

Its good to see a local Councillor who avails all his worldly knowledge to the hardworking people of Darlington . I often wonder how people of his ilk would fair if he had to make a living in the real world -but no , he typifies all councillor's MPs etc-etc whilst claiming their inflated expenses whilst telling ordinary working people what to do or not to do .

The real reason why the parking charges are being strictly adhered to is to swell the councils coffers.
Why do people like Harmen get voted in -- he and his cronies make me puke --they nothing more than finger pointing twits -who just love to hear the sound of their own voice .
What will happen when the traders of Darlington are driven out of business, and the death of Darlington Town Centre is complete--who will be putting money into the meters then!!!
Its good to see a local Councillor who avails all his worldly knowledge to the hardworking people of Darlington . I often wonder how people of his ilk would fair if he had to make a living in the real world -but no , he typifies all councillor's MPs etc-etc whilst claiming their inflated expenses whilst telling ordinary working people what to do or not to do . The real reason why the parking charges are being strictly adhered to is to swell the councils coffers. Why do people like Harmen get voted in -- he and his cronies make me puke --they nothing more than finger pointing twits -who just love to hear the sound of their own voice . What will happen when the traders of Darlington are driven out of business, and the death of Darlington Town Centre is complete--who will be putting money into the meters then!!! limboland
  • Score: 9

3:39pm Wed 9 Apr 14

andygib263 says...

Everyone seems quick to blame parking however I parked in Sainsburys car park for 3 hours for free this morning and spent a couple hours in the town centre. There is loads of free parking in and around Darlington including Halfords.
Everyone seems quick to blame parking however I parked in Sainsburys car park for 3 hours for free this morning and spent a couple hours in the town centre. There is loads of free parking in and around Darlington including Halfords. andygib263
  • Score: -8

5:37pm Wed 9 Apr 14

judygone says...

The greedy rents for stalls and the parking situation, are the two main reasons for our poor outdoor market. The blame therefore sits firmly with the morons that are DBC.
The greedy rents for stalls and the parking situation, are the two main reasons for our poor outdoor market. The blame therefore sits firmly with the morons that are DBC. judygone
  • Score: 5

8:52pm Wed 9 Apr 14

oliviaden6 says...

Its in the hands of Bill and His Buddies, radically reduce the parking charges and people will return to shop in the town, if not close the market close the town turn the lights out and and we shall All go else where as Darlington is rapidly becoming a place not to go. I have been here two years and from my aspect i have seen a decline over that time lets stop it now BILL?
Its in the hands of Bill and His Buddies, radically reduce the parking charges and people will return to shop in the town, if not close the market close the town turn the lights out and and we shall All go else where as Darlington is rapidly becoming a place not to go. I have been here two years and from my aspect i have seen a decline over that time lets stop it now BILL? oliviaden6
  • Score: 5

10:39pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Homshaw1 says...

I asked about a stall in the indoor market and was a little surprised at the response. Not only was I told I only wanted it because it was cheap but I could only have it if the existing stallholders were to agree to me being there. Although no one else was selling what I was going to sell existing stallholders had a wide remit as to what they could sell and a veto over any potential competition for items that they were selling or may want to sell.

After such a negative response I decided it wasn't, worth the hassle.
I asked about a stall in the indoor market and was a little surprised at the response. Not only was I told I only wanted it because it was cheap but I could only have it if the existing stallholders were to agree to me being there. Although no one else was selling what I was going to sell existing stallholders had a wide remit as to what they could sell and a veto over any potential competition for items that they were selling or may want to sell. After such a negative response I decided it wasn't, worth the hassle. Homshaw1
  • Score: 7

8:16am Thu 10 Apr 14

John Justice says...

Being Darlo born and bred I have an affinity with Darlington but feel the covered market lacks something. It seems to sit there and wait for the punters to come in, make their purchase and leave. There are some good stalls in there but I believe more needs to be done to attract customers. Why not regular cooking displays by the local college using foods available on sale within the market. With the present financial constraints, Food Banks and pressure on families such help in such a location is one way of making the venue more attractive to shoppers. Any other ideas most welcome.
Being Darlo born and bred I have an affinity with Darlington but feel the covered market lacks something. It seems to sit there and wait for the punters to come in, make their purchase and leave. There are some good stalls in there but I believe more needs to be done to attract customers. Why not regular cooking displays by the local college using foods available on sale within the market. With the present financial constraints, Food Banks and pressure on families such help in such a location is one way of making the venue more attractive to shoppers. Any other ideas most welcome. John Justice
  • Score: 2

12:54pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Mike B. says...

They could start by taking credit and debit cards.
They could start by taking credit and debit cards. Mike B.
  • Score: 2

10:53pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Awake-in-Darlo says...

judygone wrote:
The greedy rents for stalls and the parking situation, are the two main reasons for our poor outdoor market. The blame therefore sits firmly with the morons that are DBC.
The restructuring of the town centre by DBC has taken the focus away from the market square(no longer a MARKET just a space to hire out) We used to have bus stops outside the front of the covered market not so long ago, nice clean public toilets, and a vibrant assortment of market stalls (before the hike in rents ) Crossing Tubwell Row is a nightmare, the traffic doesn`t exactly flow and there`s no bus station. How dare Coun. Harman blame the
market traders if shoppers are put off ? We all know who is to blame.
[quote][p][bold]judygone[/bold] wrote: The greedy rents for stalls and the parking situation, are the two main reasons for our poor outdoor market. The blame therefore sits firmly with the morons that are DBC.[/p][/quote]The restructuring of the town centre by DBC has taken the focus away from the market square(no longer a MARKET just a space to hire out) We used to have bus stops outside the front of the covered market not so long ago, nice clean public toilets, and a vibrant assortment of market stalls (before the hike in rents ) Crossing Tubwell Row is a nightmare, the traffic doesn`t exactly flow and there`s no bus station. How dare Coun. Harman blame the market traders if shoppers are put off ? We all know who is to blame. Awake-in-Darlo
  • Score: 4

1:05am Fri 11 Apr 14

Spy Boy says...

This is a common theme, now ask yourselves this:

Why are Darlington's useless council leaders deliberately trying to stop visitors to the town?

How can that be in their interests?

Now, you try and come up with the answers.
This is a common theme, now ask yourselves this: Why are Darlington's useless council leaders deliberately trying to stop visitors to the town? How can that be in their interests? Now, you try and come up with the answers. Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Fri 11 Apr 14

JJ2000 says...

The UK's ridiculously overpriced housing market.
Banks lending money past the point of ability to repay.
Big businesses avoiding tax.
Regulations that hamper small firms and start-ups from effectively competing.

How are these current events in British societies best interests?
The only people who benefit are those who operate them.

The same holds true for DBC. Don't mistake social benefit for personal benefit - Visitors coming to Darlington do not register on the personal benefit list, as past decisions have shown.
The UK's ridiculously overpriced housing market. Banks lending money past the point of ability to repay. Big businesses avoiding tax. Regulations that hamper small firms and start-ups from effectively competing. How are these current events in British societies best interests? The only people who benefit are those who operate them. The same holds true for DBC. Don't mistake social benefit for personal benefit - Visitors coming to Darlington do not register on the personal benefit list, as past decisions have shown. JJ2000
  • Score: 0

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