Harrogate Borough Council believes “significant change” is needed to stem the decline of Knaresborough, reputedly the country’s longest continually running market and Ripon, whose Thursday market is also centuries-old. Latest figures show that Knaresborough market has decreased by 16 per cent since 2015 and Ripon by 32 per cent.
Recommendations made by consultants aimed at boosting the markets include establishing a marketing budget and reducing fees. But following opposition, one controversial proposal to get all traders to bring self-assembly stalls, will not be taken forward.
Harrogate Council leader Richard Cooper said there would be “no pre-determined ideas and no set agenda” when public meetings are held early next month.
And the results will be taken forward by a working party “based on traders and the community, not on councillors.”
Coun Cooper said he wanted to assure people it wasn’t an empty exercise and would be backed up by cash. He said he wasn’t willing “simply to sit back and let the decline continue but with a national decline in High Street shopping it is going to take a concerted community effort.”
He added: “This isn’t an empty exercise - cash will be there. Whatever solution we reach has to be reached with traders - not in opposition to them.”