MOVING BANGOR MARKET TO THE FLAGSHIP – Severals posts have pointed out the benefits. But the negatives need to be looked at as well; A private concern so rent must be paid. Council cannot pay rent to a private landlord for commercial businesses to use. (Not allowed) But even if it were, the issue would have problems because the Council would be financing stall holders, who sell products which Bangor shops currently sell. That would put serious pressure on the shops that are struggling and paying rate and rates and the current shops would, rightly, yell ‘unfair trading’ as they would not be being financially supported by Council.
Rates – to reduce the rates to any significant size that would affect business would cost 100’s of millions and would need Assembly input and big subsidies from Westminister. What is being talked about now is just tinkering with the rates.
MOVING THE MARKET TO RAILWAY STATION AREA – As well as the exact same problems as above (Private property) – Size would be an issue as would parking and traffic safety.
MOVING TO QUEEN’S PARADE – This is one that I pondered over and asked about in Council. But the wind and exposure to the elements would deter people from going and the stalls can only be put up with winds of less than 18 MPH. A covered market down there could be an option but the Queen’s Parade Plans include that area of the seafront (like it or not.) and the Council would never build anything permanent down there in case it affected the future seafront plans.
CLIFTON ROAD – Much the same issues. Council would lose face if anything where to be built of a permanent feature there and there is always the issue of competing with local shops.
My own opinion is that yes, The Council did a lot of damage to the market when it downsized it years ago (I fought against for information) but even if the market were still the old size I suspect that we would have the same problems.
Newtownards Market is doing ‘pretty well’ but not outstanding. But it has a population and a catchment area that sustains market produces and it has a much better traffic system and parking system than Bangor. Also the day of the week makes a big difference and if we moved the Bangor Day to a Saturday then the competition would probably affect both markets and the market traders can only be in one place at a time… and they more than likely would stay with the successful N’Ards market.
Personally I would like to see a purpose built covered market type area down on the seafront and that may happen depending upon what will happen to the Queen’s Parade plans. The covered area could also be used for arts events and smaller children events during the non-market days. But it would not be a market like we see today. It would be a speciality market with items that would draw people to it. Italian, German, Flowers, maybe antiques ans art as well some days…. whatever….
BUT THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM is Queen’s Parade…. until we see a real idea and timeline coming forward everything will be half-assed and temporary.
But Bangor real huge problems are – parking and traffic….. and nothing is going to be done about them by the DSD (They just confirmed that this week) If you cannot park easily and with comfort you will go to a place where you can park and if you have to drive around and around the Town centre for a car parking place you will avoid that and go somewhere else…. this is the major issue where your Council failed you. They showed no leadership on this issue at all.