December 8, 2022 6.55 am This story is over 16 months old

Council looking at 400-year-old documents for market refresh ideas

Grantham market’s £84,000 loss is under scrutiny

A council is looking at 400-year-old charters as it explores how to refresh its markets.

South Kesteven District Council is due to present a report on its loss-making markets early next year following calls for action.

There has previously been concern over the cost of Grantham market, which loses £84,000 every year.

Jon Hinde, the manager of Invest SK, told a Visitor Economy committee that they were leaving no stone unturned in a bid to explore possibilities.

“We will be delivering an update in February. If it gives you any comfort about the level of detail we’re going into, we currently have a colleague looking at the original market charters dating back to 1600,” he said.

“We are seeing what we can do for maximum effect. In terms of detail, we’re digging as deep as we possibly can.”

Charters are founding documents which set out a council’s historic rights to hold markets and collect rent.

Councillor Richard Cleaver (Independent) urged that the report address Grantham market’s lack of profit.

“They are a vital part of the visitor economy, and it’s important that they expand and improve,” he said.

Stamford market is continuing to flourish

“However, the amount of money being spent isn’t sustainable. We need to look carefully at how to improve the offer, and not spend that amount of money on one market.”

By contrast, Stamford’s popular market is over-subscribed and making £24,000 a year, while Bourne makes a small loss of £4,000.

Councillors were told that costs varied from town to town, and business rates were a big chunk of the expense in Grantham.

Other members underlined the importance of markets surviving in town centres.

Councillor Judy Stevens (Conservative) said: “Markets flourished when we kept them open during lockdown, and became a lifeline for people.

“People looking at shopping as being an experience nowadays. We should look at the high street in a more creative ways, and markets definitely offer something to that.”

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