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Minutes of the Extra Ordinary Market Management Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Monday 9 March 2020 at 6.10 pm

PRESENT:

East Ward

Councillor J Craigie
Councillor Mrs L Hellyer
Councillor J McKenzie (Chairman)


West Ward

Councillor Mrs K Corfe
Councillor C J Hawkins

Market Hall Mrs G Morgan, Mr B Sidwell

Butchers Row Miss K la Fontaine.

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Mr A Curtis (Maintenance Supervisor)
Councillor P Lawrence
3 x Tenant
1 x Member of the Public

 

128.     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor R Wootton (South Ward – personal).

129.     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

There were no declarations of interest.

130.     PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD

Ms Hurford, a Market Tenant advised that she had run a customer poll on her social media page, from 840, 68 replied: 61% supported Tuesday to Saturday trading with core hours of 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, 19% agreed with a flexible approach to opening. Many indicated that set hours provided for visitors with the knowledge of what to expect. She advised that the majority of Old Butcher’s Row and Market Place Tenants agreed; one Tenant did not support a reduction in hours.

Ms Hurford in stating that she was happy with core hours from Tuesday to Saturday believed that it was better for visitors; the Tenants need to work to provide consistency (this was echoed by other tenants).

Another tenant agreed although they believed that the core hours should reflect the Market Hall opening times, the Complex should be tied. He nonetheless supported Tuesday through to Saturday core hour trading.

131.     MINUTES

(Councillor J Craigie joined the Meeting.)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27 February 2020 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

132.     ACCOUNTS

It was proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the list of payments be approved.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

133.     TENANCY AT WILL / LEASE AGREEMENT

a.         To review the Casual rent tariff effective 1 April 2020.

Members discussed the change of the Market landscape since the tariff increase was set in October 2019. They identified the poor trader take up and the very real possibility that those few traders supporting the Market could not sustain their position given the poor footfall, visitor attraction.

Proposed by Councillor Hellyer, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Casual Rate remains at £6.00 per table per day; the rate will be reviewed in October 2020.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

b.          To consider a variation on the introductory monthly trading incentive and resolve accordingly.

The Clerk advised Members that currently those new traders committing to monthly trading pay for the first month and receive the second month free i.e. first two months buy one get one free. He suggested that the offer could be extended: payment of the first month with two subsequent gratis months.

Councillor Lawrence believed that a launch / revamp should be organised. The message needs to get out.

Councillor Mrs Corfe volunteered to visit other Markets to spread the word and encourage traders to consider us. Councillor J Craigie volunteered to travel with her.

It was suggested that a positive message needs to be expressed, giving detail to the Market offer / opportunity. Entries in the Gazette, not just social media should be considered. Professional signage explaining what is being developed (at the Market); perhaps sited at the bottom of the High Street, by the Burton as well as the Market Hall.

Proposed by Councillor J Craigie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That those new traders committing to monthly trading shall be entitled to two free months following payment for the first month, effective 1 April 2020.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

Councillors J Craigie and Mrs Hellyer suggested a new advertisement / flyer be produced with a new photograph, depicting the Hall currently, with a break down of prices on the back.

c.         To consider and resolve upon alternate trading incentives.

Members considered offering a similar incentive to those casual traders to encourage commitment, albeit not monthly. Traders are offered three days’ trading for the price of one during a first week cycle i.e. pay for the first day with the next two market trading days free within seven days of the first day.

Proposed by Councillor Craigie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That traders are offered three days’ trading for the price of one during a first week cycle.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

134.     TENANT CORE HOURS

Councillor Lawrence spoke about not covering the rent and suggested that the commitment to opening should be reduced for three months.

SUSPENSION OF STANDING ORDERS

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That Standing Orders are suspended in order to allow Members of the Public to address the Meeting.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

Ms Hurford spoke of the Market as a Destination and her discussion with an acquaintance who operates from another Tourist Destination. She explained the importance of a consistent presence of being predictable, open to potential visitors. Not everyone is not making their rent she explained. She believed that it was a “Catch 22” situation: no traders (attraction), no customers. She believed that the Council / tenants needed to be steadfast in their resolution.

Ms Hurford expressed concern at the vacuum left by the absence of a Development Officer and reflected upon the January closure and the resulting impact upon the Market Hall Business. She appealed to the Committee not to damage the Complex further by introducing flexi time.

Members discussed the destination being open for business, referring to Atlantic Village (Affinity Devon), poor feedback from visitors, misunderstanding of and not a flexible hour option (danger of flouting) and the provision under Schedule 4 to allow for legitimate absences.
It was understood that though some tenants do produce items that they sell at other events it is important that they commit to the Market Complex.

The Clerk reminded Members of the former Development Officer’s Presentations, that were endorsed and resolved upon, where it was highlighted to be a visitor, go to, destination there had to be full occupancy. The Committee had supported the reduction in market (trading) with the provision of full attendance, committed to the hours of business. He reminded Members that those who had applied for and entered a tenancy had committed to thirty hours per week. He believed that by and large the majority of the Old Butcher’s Row Tenants did open throughout the week. By reducing the commitment to twenty-five hours, notwithstanding absences, notified to the officers and approved under Schedule 4, Tenants would be beholden to their agreement and non-compliance hitherto not enforced would be administered. He advised that there had been much expression of interest in the Old Butcher’s Row Units.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer indicated that the trading commitment for the Market Tenants should see Core Hours of 10.00 am – 3.00 pm from Tuesday through to Saturday. This would be the minimum - many would trade for longer periods.

Ms Hurford likened the Complex to a team effort; all must play their part and be consistent – collective strength.

Members spoke about enforcing the commitment, the importance of the commitment with Schedule 4 allowing for necessary individual absences, the advertising of the new hours of business and the benefits of being open – the Market will thrive by being open.

Councillor Lawrence indicated that a lot of shops have an online presence that presents a bigger opportunity than the Unit.

The Chairman indicated that these were quiet times.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer proposed, seconded by the Chairman that the Market Tenants should trade Tuesday through to Saturday with a minimum core hours of 10.00 am to 3.00 pm.

Councillor Mrs Corfe proposed, seconded by Councillor J Craigie in line with trading Tuesday through to Saturday with a minimum core hours of 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, tenants would be restricted to two days a month absence where they intended to trade or exhibit elsewhere.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer’s proposal: Vote – For: 2, Against: 3,

Councillor Mrs Corfe’s proposal: Vote – For: 3, Against: 0, Abstention: 2

RESOLVED: That the new tenancies effective 1 April 2020 will state, “trading Tuesday through to Saturday, core hours of 10.00 am to 3.00 pm, tenants restricted to two days a month absence where they intend to trade or exhibit elsewhere.”

RETURN TO STANDING ORDERS

Proposed by Councillor McKenzie, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Meeting return to Standing Orders.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

135.     MARKET HALL TARIFFS

The Clerk indicated that interest had been expressed to use the Hall but one had baulked at the £20.00 cost indicating that other Halls for hire were less than £10.00 an hour. Given that the Committee had not considered a variance in day and evening tariffs there was an opportunity for a review.

(Councillor Mrs Corfe left the Meeting.)

Members discussed:

• a £10.00 flat rate
• cost free during the working day
• comparison with a local Hall (£8.00 per hour)
• discretionary consideration
• a reduced rate for those non-commercial interests.

Proposed by Councillor Mrs Hellyer, seconded and

RESOLVED: That the Market Hall hourly hire rate premium incorporates a £10.00 fee for those non-commercial activities during the day (up to 4.00 pm) in addition to the £20.00 hourly tariff.

(Vote – For: 3, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)

 

The Chairman, having established that there was no further business to discuss, thanked the Members for their attendance and concluded the Meeting at 7.45 pm.


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