Bid to keep Wetherby farmers’ market open

The monthly farmers' market in Wetherby. (S)
The monthly farmers' market in Wetherby. (S)

OUTSIDE organisations are set to be invited to say how they could improve the council-run farmers’ market in Wetherby.

Wetherby Town Council has agreed to consult with third-parties who run farmers’ markets elsewhere to see whether they would be interested in taking over the commercial management of the monthly event.

“The market is not doing as well as it used to and we realise it’s not as good as it could be so we are trying to do something about it,” said markets committee chairman Coun John Wardley.

Stall-holder numbers have been in decline and so once administration costs of the market are taken out of revenues from traders’ fees there is less money to promote the market, but Coun Wardley hopes by taking decisive action now the trend can be reversed.

“I don’t see why we can’t make a good go of it.

“We just need that expertise and guidance,” he said.

Issues the markets committee wishes to discuss with the outside organisations include the amount of free rein they would be given if they took over management of the market, the make-up and number of the various stall-holders, and the layout of the market.

Coun Wardley said a survey on the farmers’ market had been carried out earlier this year to identify the types of shopper who visit it, where they come from and what they thought would improve it.

“On the survey, we asked people what they wanted to see and that’s what we are trying to incorporate,” he said.

Coun Wardley said he would like to see more done to promote the farmers’ market as a quality shopping experience, with signs placed around Wetherby to advertise the event and more done to target the crowds who visit Wetherby Racecourse.

Changing the opening times of the market to meet customers’ needs is another issue which is open for discussion, with the possibility of different times according to the season.

Currently, the market is officially open from 9am - 1pm on the second Sunday of each month except November when it is held on the third Sunday.