THE POOR state of the town’s market is giving visitors to Redditch the impression the town is dirty and scruffy.
That was the claim from Coun Alan Mason who told the Standard the cleanliness of the market was letting the town centre down and encouraging the well-known rat problem in and around Church Green.
His comments came after he raised the issue at an overview and scrutiny meeting where councillors reviewed changes which had been implemented as a result of a task and finish group looking specifically at the market’s future.
Coun Mason said: “We have to keep the place clean and it would be good to have the type of stalls which were taken away at night.
“When we get visitors to our town, especially on a Wednesday when there is no market, the place is mucky and dirty. People coming from outside must think ‘what a dirty place’. We need to take some pride in this town.”
Coun Pat Witherspoon added she was disappointed more had not been done to smarten the market up while Coun Gay Hopkins suggested traders should be told they were not able to return if they did not clear up after themselves.
One of the task group’s original recommendations was to introduce new stalls which could be put away at night and on non-market days but it was estimated they would cost £40,000 to buy and £31,500 a year due to the need for extra staff to put them up and take them down.
The measure has not been implemented as North Worcestershire Economic Development unit, which manages the market on behalf of the borough council, is waiting for the results of an investigation by consultants working for the National Association of British Market Authorities, as to how the market can be revitalised in the long-term.
They were specifically looking at two of the group’s other recommendations which could see a private firm brought in to run the market and its trading days reduced from five to three, with specialty markets held on other days.
The report is expected to be finalised this month when an action plan will be produced and put before councillors.
A spokeswoman for the North Worcestershire Economic Development unit, added: “All traders are aware of their responsibility to keep their pitch in a clean and tidy condition.
“They have recently been reminded of this and appropriate action will be taken if any trader continues to breach their obligations.”