Council quashes rumours about indoor market closures

Idlewells Shopping Centre's Indoor Market, Sutton-in-Ashfield
Idlewells Shopping Centre's Indoor Market, Sutton-in-Ashfield

Big plans are under way to revitalise a run-down Sutton indoor market - after council bosses pledged to either move it to new premises or give the current site a new lease of life.

But the second option would mean traders moving out for more than six months.

That sparked rumours that the Idelwells indoor market could be closed for good.

However, council leaders and market traders have been quick to dispel the gossip as incorrect.

Ashfield District Council announced earlier this month that it is exploring new ideas for the market, which is currently at the Idlewells Shopping Centre.

The current market has been branded as “out-dated” by traders and the council says it needs significant work to enable it to continue as safe premises for trading in the future.

But customers have been reassured that whatever happens, the market stalls will not be closing down.

The two development schemes that are being explored are to re-vamp the 50-stall market, or to move it to a brand new purpose-built market hall on Fox Street.

Upgrading the current market would mean that the traders would be moved to a temporary location in the town centre for 26 weeks while the work is carried out.

Building a new premises at Fox Street would not involve the traders moving out - but could risk alienating regular customers from the Idlewells centre.

Glenn Shaw, 56, from Sutton, has run the fruit stall for the last 40 years. He says he would prefer to have the Idlewells market renovated, rather than moving to Fox Street

“People know where we are here and we are part of the Idlewells community,” he said. “But if moving to Fox Street is the chosen option then we will go with it.”

But Malcolm Keeling, 51, from Sutton, has been a butcher in the market for 35 years and said: “We have opted for the new build. And from a survey, we know our customers would prefer that too. We are hoping and praying for the Fox Street location because it will be great for us.”

Tracy Gee, 42, from Mansfield, runs the fabric shop and has only been on the market for 15 months.

She said: “I don’t think that either option will do us any good. Personally, I would like to stay as we are. It’s not everybody who thinks we need a new market. Business here is really good for us and to move would be a big risk.”

Martin Topley, 44, from Sutton, runs the DVD stall and has traded at Idlewells for the last three years. He says he is completely up for a new market, but doesn’t think a 26 week temporary move is “feasible”.

Deputy leader at the council Don Davis said that both of the options have potential to provide a solid base for the market.

He said: “The existing market traders in Sutton are loyal and offer customers a good product mix. They are currently constrained by the environment in which they trade.

“The options to be explored represent the only two realistic developments which will bring new trade and custom to the market in the future.

“There are benefits and risks involved with both these schemes, which is why we are exploring both in detail, and continuing to consult directly with the market traders.”

And although the indoor market is currently part of Idlewells, the decision is out of their hands.

Manager of the centre Chloe O’Donnell said: “As representatives of the Idlewells’ landlord, we have been informed by Ashfield District Council that they are looking at several options for the future of the indoor market.

“As is usual with any tenant or retailer in Idlewells, we are not involved in any of their internal discussions, but of course share the interest in developments along with the rest of our community.”

The council says it is researching the two preferred options and will report back on the future of the market later in the year.

David Barker, senior markets officer at Ashfield District Council, has a good relationship with the traders at his market and says that he is there to support them.

“What we have here is the market that is in desperate need of a regeneration - and we have narrowed it down to the two options.

“But my main priority is the traders and looking after them - I will always work hard to get them the best option possible.”

He also wanted to reassure customers that the market will not be closing down and will remain open in some way, whichever option is chosen.

He was also quick to quash any rumours of wooden shacks for the temporary location and said that, if this is the chosen option, they will be placed in a primary location to continue their trading.

“None of the plans are set in stone yet, but whatever we do it is going to be very good for the people of Ashfield.

“We have worked hard as a market team and are trying to build up the positivity again.”

He said that as soon as he knows of any decisions, he will make sure to keep people up-to-date.

What are your views on a new indoor market in Sutton?

Get in touch at danielle.hayden@jpress.co.uk