Is Carmarthen's Red Street market damaging town image?
THE weekly market stalls in Carmarthen’s Red Street are in the wrong place, sell the wrong goods and give the wrong impression — according to members of the Chamber of Commerce. Some claim the outdoor stalls are damaging Carmarthen’s traditional image of a market town. GRAEME WILKINSON spoke to shoppers and market traders to find out what they thought.
THE market stalls in Carmarthen's Red Street give the wrong impression of town and are not selling the right kind of goods, according to some business leaders.
Members of Carmarthen Chamber of Commerce also fear the stalls, on a Wednesday and Saturday, are undercutting independent shops and do nothing to encourage people to visit the town.
Carmarthenshire Council, which manages the stalls, said traders are offered either Red Street or the market precinct — and most prefer Red Street.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
The council said it had no say over which goods are sold.
The matter was raised by town and county councillor Peter Hughes Griffiths, who was invited to speak at the last chamber meeting.
He said he was disappointed with the Red Street stalls, adding: "People come to Carmarthen because it's a market town.
"I think its wrong what we have down there. Originally, it's not even supposed to be there."
He said Red Street was only supposed to be used while work was being done to build the new market hall.
Matt Davies, chairman of the chamber, said his members agreed and were worried the stalls are competing unfairly with existing businesses. The stalls also distract people from browsing in the windows of the shops on Red Street, he said.
"It seems to us that some of the stuff they're selling down there is the same as we sell up here," said Mr Davies.
"It was always meant to be temporary.
"I think it needs to come back into the market area."
He said that was what the square by the clock tower was designed for.
Otherwise he suggested the stalls could go on the dead-end section of road between Red Street and the bottom of Jackson's Lane.
Mike Pugh, the manager of St Catherine's Walk shopping precinct, said Red Street was vital as a link between the two ends of town.
He said: "I am not that concerned about the location of the stalls but I am more concerned about the product mix itself. It is after all a provisions market.
"Some of the products for sale are not provisions and I think it's lost its original feel."
He said it would be a great boost for the town if the market was restyled as a proper provisions market, selling more local produce.
Jonathan Fearn, who is head of corporate property at the county council, said that Red Street has planning permission for market stalls.
He said: "Traders prefer the Red Street location but the market precinct is always offered to them.
"There would not be enough space if the stalls were confined to the precinct only.
"The mix of goods sold reflects consumer demand as the outdoor market is always well supported by the shopping public."