Calls for new open-air weekly market

SCRAPPING the unofficial Saturday market in Matlock has sparked calls for an open-air market in the town.

Derbyshire Dales District Council is also looking into closing off much of the Bakewell Road hall venue, but rather than objecting to the moves, there is a groundswell of opinion to switch attention to opening a new weekly outdoor event.

Cllr Sue Burfoot, who sits on both the town and district council, said: “There are those who believe the site of Matlock market hall is hardly desirable.

“There have been efforts to improve it but the basic fabric is simply not up to scratch.

“I would like to see an open-air market, maybe in front of the town hall one day a week or near Park Head.

“There are sites around the town, it’s a matter of finding the right one. I think a lot of people would really like that.”

Park Head is often mentioned, with suggestions of closing the bridge once or twice a week for stallholders.

Danielle Barker, spokesperson for the local traders’ Matlock Town Team and owner of Bellissima Jewellery on Dale Road said: “A lot of people have said this, and I think it’s a great idea.

“There’s more than enough space, it’s so wide across the bridge, I don’t think there’d be a safety issue.

“It would encourage people to stop in the town, it would be in the centre and just incorporate everything.”

Mike Blair of Peli Deli on Crown Square has long supported the idea.

He said: “It would bring some kudos back to the area. Market stalls show grass-roots independency, and it should all stem from there.

“If it was up to me, I would have it over the bridge. It would link it to the town centre, and the businesses on Dale Road but it would have to sell quality items.”

Meanwhile, the district council says the Bakewell Road hall it is under-utilised and lighting, heating and overtime pay for rent collection could be saved if much of the hall was reduced in size.

The cabin-based permanent businesses towards the front of the building, which includes among others the fruit and veg shop, a butchers and the convenience grocery store, P&B Bargains, will remain unaffected by the plans and remain open.

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