The Market Development Manager introduced the report to the Committee to provide Members with an overview of the City Market operation and proposed future planning regarding:
· Market Services
· Expenditure/income and service costs
· Staffing numbers and staffing issues within service
· Opportunities for service
· Service threats
· Service objectives for 2014/15
The Committee was asked to note and comment on the work of the City Market and propose further scrutiny in relation to its business activities.
Observations and questions were raised around the following areas:
· Members congratulated the Market Development Manager on the report and on the developments of the market.
· Members queried whether the market was going to be relocated and commented that it would be a shame if this was the case as the market had good facilities very close by. The Market Development Manager responded that discussions on relocation of the market had taken place before his appointment and commented that it was important to develop the existing market.
· Members were concerned that members of the public did not use the market as it was not well advertised and suggested that marketing of the market was included within the budget, as this would generate more custom. Members were advised that this issue had been addressed in the marketing plan. The plan was to have a social media presence, clear signposting, an established food court and market research was going to take place to find out what customers would like to see at the market.
· Members suggested that having a Facebook page and Twitter account for the market would help with promotion.
· Members commented that if the market was in a warmer environment it would be more welcoming to customers especially where food was being served. Members were advised that the food court idea was for hot street food and the focus would be on quality.
· Members commented that there was no supermarket in the city which sold the variety of fruit and vegetables that were sold at the market.
· Members queried what action could be taken to get people in Peterborough to use the market. Members were informed that the whole plan was to change the dynamics of the market. Stalls were to be used as a showcase and it would need to be evident that the market was changing for the better and growing.
· Members suggested that a bank holiday market could be held to let people know where the market was and what was on offer. The market Development Manager agreed that events would need to be held regularly to increase the visibility of the market. There was a food festival planned for 2015.
· Members asked if the market could be made in to a smaller indoor market. Members were advised that to achieve this would require a very large capital investment and by doing this it could send out a message that the market was failing.
· Members suggested that holding a Christmas market could draw people in to the existing market. Members were informed that a Christmas market had already been planned to be held on Cathedral Square this year. This would also be held in house with the City Market and not be contracted out.
· Members queried why Bridge Street had so many different market stalls visiting when Peterborough already had the City Market. The Market Development Manager commented that Bridge Street needed to build in a link with the City market to make it more visible in the city centre.
The Committee agreed for the Assistant Director for Commercial Operations to attend a future Committee meeting to discuss the long terms plans for the Market.
The Committee recommended to the Assistant Director for Commercial Operations that Peterborough market traders had the opportunity to take the lead and ownership of the 2014 Christmas Market.