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Philip Evans


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HONITON: Street market to bounce back

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Honiton Street Market is set to bounce back from a difficult three-year period, after town councillors approved cost-cutting measures that could help it to run more efficiently. At the April full council meeting last week, councillors approved a proposal to retake control of the market, following a review of its management structure and concerns over its future. The market charter is still owned by the council but a private company currently oversees the day-to-day running of the Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday markets. And in a report to councillors last week, market manager Tony McCollum said the company’s control had actually had a detrimental effect on the market’s success. But recommendations made to the council by town clerk Chetna Jones, which could reduce VAT and other costs for the market, were given the green light at the council’s April meeting. A committee will be appointed to manage the market at the council’s next full meeting in May, after which the existing Honiton Street Market company will be wound down. Mr McCollum said: “To return the market to the way it was will be a positive step. We have actually had a number of traders come forward to join the market in the last few weeks and if the weather improves, I am confident we will be able to bounce back again. “High Street is starting to buzz again and hopefully we are now over the worst of it.” Mr McCollum’s report indicated that traders had given up on the Honiton market in recent years and had either moved elsewhere or stopped trading altogether. He also reported that the recession was continuing to have a negative impact on visitor numbers to the town. But plans for the future management of the market look set to give it a new lease of life and Mayor David Foster, a former director of the Street Market company, is confident of attracting more visitors to the town. He told Pulman’s View: “It has been a tough time but we believe now the only way is up. “We are forecast six weeks of very good weather and we are already seeing stalls starting to come back. “The decision taken by the council is the best way forward for the future sustainability of the street market. “We fully value our unique market and we are now optimistic that it will prevail.”

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