Following a government commissioned review of Britain’s high streets, local business leaders are unsure about whether or not promoting markets can bring more business to Boscombe town centre.
In a recent report commissioned by David Cameron, retail expert Mary Portas said encouraging market days can regenerate failing high streets.
But Nigel Hedges, president of Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, is unsure about this recommendation.
“Whilst we generally agree with the Mary Portas review, there are some aspects of it that we are unsure about. Encouraging market days is one of them.
“Traders who are here all year round are paying very large business rates and rent fees. We don’t want street peddlers coming with trollies and stealing their business. The relaxed licensing rules that the Portas review proposes will cause this to happen.”
But Boscombe market manager, Rod Wilson, said: “Markets give people with good ideas a chance to succeed. They enable them to come here at minimal cost and try it out.”
Philip Morland, owner of Traditional Locksmith, is an example of how markets can bring business to town centres.
“I started off at Boscombe market with a little box and six locks. The market managers were extremely helpful, they recognised I was starting off with virtually nothing, so for the first ten weeks I was rent-free. People would come down to the market, and book me for odd jobs, that’s how I made enough money to expand my business,” he said.
Mr Morland now has a shop at the Royal Arcade in Boscombe which is open all year round. He also hires three employees and three vans.
Boscombe has entered into a government-run competition that offers 12 towns a slice of £1m to come up with ideas to rejuvenate their town centres.
The scheme is a result of Mary Portas’ finding that high streets are in decline.
The Portas Review 2011 states: “The only hope our high streets have of surviving in the future is to recongnise what’s happened and deliver something new.”
Nigel Hedges speaks about the history of Boscombe market below:[jwplayer mediaid=”19804″]