THE fortunes of an ailing farmers’ market could be set for a turn around after the venture was taken over, writes Neil Bracegirdle.
Sudbury’s monthly farmers’ market at St Peter’s has been run by the town council for the last seven years.
However, only a handful of stalls now remain and customer numbers have hit an all-time low.
With the council unable to spark interest in the market and with concerns over its long-term future, the management has been handed to businesswoman Justine Paul on a six-month trial basis.
Ms Paul, who runs similar markets in Lavenham and Assington – attracting hundreds of visitors – said: “I am delighted to be taking over the management of the market and my immediate aim is to attract more than 20 stall holders and a high number of customers.
“The current traders are very enthusiastic and positive, and I think that will help when I am trying to attract more to come on board. I am determined to make this happen.”
The 43-year-old added that a lot of hard work had been put into making events in Lavenham and Assington a success and she would be using all her knowledge and experience to help a buzz return to the Sudbury market.
Sue Brotherwood, town council clerk, said she was hopeful Ms Paul’s appointment would be a turning point.
“In the past, the farmers’ market has been very popular and we are determined that it will survive,” she said.
“Unfortunately, we do not have the resources needed to turn around the fortunes of the market and that is why we have agreed to hand over its running.
“The market is a great way to showcase the fantastic range of produce we have locally and, as it grows again, it will hopefully draw more people to the town.”
The market takes place on the last Friday of every month.
The first market with Ms Paul at the helm will be held in May and the town council has agreed to help with the cost of publicising the event.
q Anyone needing more information or interested in booking a pitch can contact Ms Paul on 01787 249168 or 07704 627973.