Open letter to Derby’s market traders from Councillor Mick Barker
Published: 8 June 2020
As the President-elect of the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA), it’ll come as no surprise that markets have long been one of my great passions. I cannot overemphasise enough how important a role I believe they play in communities around the world.
Whether it’s by providing quality, locally sourced produce or handcrafted goods, markets have thrived in a retail sector that is flailing.
They’re integral to our towns and cities, providing a lifeline for many communities, and Derby is no different. They’re social places – bringing together individuals from many different backgrounds under one roof. They are welcoming, and friendly, with many businesses being passed from generation to generation.
For Derby especially, markets are entrenched in our history. 100 years ago, Derby played an integral role in the formation of NABMA and their subsequent support of local markets across the country, with the first ever meeting taking place here in Derby.
That is why, like you, I am so disappointed that we have not yet been able to reopen our markets – the Market Hall and Allenton Market.
That said I understand that we cannot reopen carelessly, at the expense of safety.
As you’ll know, there have been a number of challenges in implementing social distancing given the layout of our markets, and the resources required to manage access and the flow of people, but during this time of global alert as a result of coronavirus, the safety of our customers and traders has to be our top priority.
I want your businesses to reopen. And I want that to happen sooner rather than later.
Please be assured that I have officers working hard to understand how we might deal with these challenges.
My teams have been asked to prioritise key areas of work:
- Establishing and delivering a deep clean of the Market Hall
- Arranging fortnightly access for you to collect stock / items
- Preparing a plan for enabling traders (in line with government guidance) to reopen for delivery and ‘click and collect’ operations
Though we aren’t able to put timescales on this currently, I will make sure you’re kept up to date with any developments, but in the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact email@example.com, or speak to Linda Aston, chair of the Derby Market Hall Traders’ Association, with whom I am currently in contact with.
The Council is conducting a survey to find out what impact COVID-19 has had on local businesses. As local traders, I’d like you to take part in that, and have your voices heard.
I want Derby’s local businesses to shape plans to kick-start the local economy post-lockdown, and to understand what support you need so that we can tailor the support we offer to you.
You can complete the survey online.
As traders you may also be eligible to access support from the Council, local BIDs, and the Government. Please find some resources you may find helpful below;
I know this is difficult. I understand your frustrations. I thank you for your patience and understanding.