Anxious traders call for market to be axed

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A NUMBER of Wirksworth traders are calling for the town’s farmers market to be axed amid concerns that it is having a negative effect on their businesses.

A petition has been submitted to Wirksworth Town Council opposing the monthly market held in the town.

John Hollingsworth, of Hollingsworth Butchers, said: “I’m a very busy shop and have doubled the staff in the six years since I opened.”

“The only days I’m not busy is when the farmers market is on and I always make a loss on those days. Now some might say that it’s only on for 12 days a year, but I’ve worked out that I lose a full week’s profit every year because of the farmers market.”

Another disgruntled trader is April Wilkinson, of The Bakehouse, who is concerned that the farmers market is selling produce already available in town and that income generated does not stay in Wirksworth.

She said: “Common sense tells you that if you bring produce into town that is already sold here, then someone somewhere will suffer – and that is not the way to build a bigger and better town.”

The farmers market is run by New Opportunities Wirksworth – in partnership with the town council – and members are ‘surprised’ that some traders have said the market doesn’t help their business.

Alison Clamp, of NOW, said: “We started the farmers market up with the intention of encouraging people to shop in our lovely town.

“Many shop keepers have told us that they have seen new shoppers in the town since we started the market.”

Anna Brown, of Derbyshire Retail Help Ltd, added: “The farmers market brings 400 extra people into Wirksworth every time it’s on and they don’t just come here for the market.

“All the produce sold at the market comes from within a 20 mile radius of Wirksworth and it is giving people a reason to visit Wirksworth.”

Wirksworth Traders Group is currently in discussion with traders, NOW, the Farmers Market, the town council and The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway to ensure that the Farmers Market has a positive influence.

A spokesman for the group said: “We are working hard to help those retailers who are currently experiencing a lull in trade to turn this around and capitalise on the influx of visitors.”