Posted: Wed 30th Jun 2021

Town centre markets in Flintshire suffering due to ‘very serious’ impact of Covid-19

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 30th, 2021

[Photo taken before the start of pandemic]

Town centre markets in Flintshire are said to be suffering due to the “very serious” impact of Covid-19.

Most stallholders have been unable to trade for long periods since the pandemic began in March last year.

Despite restrictions gradually being eased, Flintshire Council said businesses at the indoor and outdoor markets it operates in Mold, Holywell and Connah’s Quay have all continued to experience a loss of income.

A report shows a number of steps have been taken to support traders, including either deferring rent payments or offering space free of charge.

However, with efforts to promote the markets still being hampered by the coronavirus, officials have now outlined further measures to help out.

They include bringing tourists in from hotels and caravan parks on shuttle buses to boost footfall once restrictions are fully lifted.

In the report, the local authority’s chief officer for the economy, Andrew Farrow, said: “The pandemic has brought very serious impacts to the businesses that make up the markets in Flintshire.

“The majority have been unable to trade for a considerable period and the availability of funding support has been less certain than for traditional high street businesses.

“The traders have worked proactively and flexibly with the council to accommodate the changing Covid-19 regulations.

“Although the number of traders returning to the market after the last lockdown period is consistent with those beforehand, the majority of businesses have not found that trade has recovered to pre-pandemic levels which will be threatening sustainability.

“It is, though, still too early to judge the full impacts of the pandemic on both the town centres and their markets, not least because the pandemic is still ongoing.”

The council was due to hold Christmas markets in both Mold and Holywell during 2020.

However, the events were cancelled in advance due to the risk of people spreading the virus.

Mr Farrow said the authority took the decision at the start of this year not to organise any specialist markets because of the ongoing possibility of cancellation.

He said: “The ability of the council to fully promote the markets is limited during the pandemic.

“Once restrictions are fully lifted the council will work closely with the market traders and other stakeholders to develop a new promotional campaign targeting both local and regional customers.

“(It will) reintroduce pre-pandemic support including hotel and group travel engagement, subsidised shuttle buses from the major caravan parks and supporting trader social media activity.

“It will also develop a new support campaign for potential market and wider retail businesses to help to attract and develop new traders.”

The report will be considered by members of the council’s environment and economy scrutiny committee at a meeting on Tuesday (July 6, 2021).

Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

[Photo: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported]

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