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Extra Sandwell market days will stay despite petition

Sandwell | News | Published:

Extra market days will be retained in Oldbury despite complaints from nearby businesses they cannot compete with stallholders.

Council chiefs in Sandwell extended market days in the town in May from Tuesdays and Fridays to include Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays as well.

Traders nearby, however, said they were not seeing the benefits of extra footfall, just struggling to compete as they had larger overheads and business rates to pay which were more expensive than fees for stalls.

Bosses at the council have however decided to take no action in response to a petition from those businesses, saying research has shown extra footfall helps regenerate high streets.

Papers which will be decided upon by the authority's jobs and economy chief Councillor Ian Jones next Monday set out how the council plans to go forward.

It stated: "A petition has been received from Oldbury town centre shopkeepers opposing the extra market days complaining of a negative effect on their ability to trade competitively.

"The shopkeepers' petition cited high fixed costs and business rates associated with operating shops and the relatively small size of Oldbury town centre as factors which meant they could not compete effectively with market traders.

"These factors are not controlled by the council. The shopkeepers' view is not consistent with anaylsis done on a national basis where street markets have been shown to increase the vibrancy and economic stability of town centres.

"This report seeks authorisation for the markets manager to continue operating extra market days on Oldbury town square."

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In July it was revealed that a major new Sunday market or car boot sale, which could accommodate hundreds of traders, would also be coming to Oldbury.

Council chiefs want to use the 650-space Council House car park, off Oldbury Ringway, to hold the weekly market under the proposals. Bosses say there is demand for the introduction of the service and it would provide a boost for the town. The plan is for it to run for an initial trial period of 12 months.

Quarterbridge, a specialist markets consultancy, has assessed the feasibility of the plan and says it is viable, whilst considerable interest has already been expressed by potential partners who would wish to operate the events in partnership with the council.

Any partner would be required to pay a licence fee to the council for the permission to hold the events and for the use of the site.

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