A new location is being proposed as part of an Oldham Council pilot scheme looking to at help Shaw Market thrive.
Following the end of a consultation period with residents, traders, business owners and other interested parties, it has been decided to move the popular market to the district’s main shopping street – Market Street.
Initially this will be for a period of three months only.
During that time the council will monitor what happens so it can evaluate whether the move has been successful or not – for example, through increased footfall and a rise in takings for stall holders and local business.
It is envisaged that the on street market will be operational by the early summer.
This gives the council time to put an experimental Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in place on Thursday market days. During the trial period, the council will also monitor how the new location affects local traffic on market days.
At the end of the trial period traders, market shoppers and local businesses will once again be invited to have their say on the move.
If the Market Street location is considered to be successful then the council will take steps to make the move permanent. If not, the market will return to its current location.
Councillor Jean Stretton, Oldham Council’s Cabinet Member for Town Centres, Culture and Tourism, said:
“Firstly I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation. It is fair to say that there was a wide range of views expressed with some existing customers saying they didn’t want the location to change.”
“However, the market needs to attract new customers and new stall holders so there was also recognition from some that we need to do something different.”
“It was clear though that everyone wants to see a thriving market in the heart of the district. We believe that the temporary move to Market Street will give the stall holders a boost as they’ll be selling their goods on a busy shopping street and we’ll also be helping existing traders on Market Street by bringing more footfall to them.”
“We’d like to stress this is not a permanent move at this stage and we will examine whether it has been a success and take all views into account once the three months is up.”
“Like our other markets Shaw is much more than just stalls – it offers a good chance for residents to start up their own business, something we are more than happy to support through our Get Oldham Working campaign.”
Barbara, a Shaw Market trader, said:
“I am all for moving the market to Market Street as it will give us a more visible presence to shoppers.”
“We must give this a try and see if it has a positive impact.”
The council has said it will invest £220,000 in Shaw – signalling the council’s commitment to the market and the wider high street.
It has pledged £100,000 to support new and existing independent businesses in the district centre and £120,000 has been earmarked for the market if the on street market becomes permanent.
Margaret Williams and Lesley Gregory, owners of Verve Floral Design, based on Market Street, said:
“I think this pilot scheme is a positive move forward for the businesses on the high street and Shaw Market traders.”
“I hope it will encourage more trade and footfall to Market Street.”
Despite harsh trading times over recent years, 11 loyal stall holders – many of whom have been trading in Shaw for more than 20 years – continue to sell their wares every Thursday.
We know from previous surveys that nobody wants to lose the market, but recently it’s become more difficult to attract and keep new traders because people aren’t using the market as much as they used to.
The focus for footfall in Shaw has shifted from the market’s current location closer to Asda and Aldi.