On October 3rd as part of a pioneering project - the first of its kind in the Black Country – Dudley Market traders took over the day-to-day running of their market for a 12-month trail period granted by the council in and effort to improve Dudley's shopping experience and 'bring life back to the town'.\r\n
The pilot is part of the Love your Community initiative run by Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Dudley MBC) and is the largest market in the country to trial this method of management.\r\n
The traders set up a new company called Dudley Market Traders which is a not-for-profit organisation that will operate as a co-operative among the traders with all profits ploughed back into boosting the market, which dates back to the 12th century.\r\n
Traders are drawing up a new rent structure in the wake of a £6.7m revamp undertaken by the council that has seen investment in new stalls and equipment, resulting in a surge of enthusiasm from potential new businesses. The reduced rates are one of the cooperatives key strategies that they hope will boost stall occupancy levels.\r\n
They are initially targeting days where trading on the market is quiet on this six-day a week market. On Monday, the price for a stall will fall from £14 to £10, on Tuesday and Thursday it will fall from £15 to £12 and on Friday it will drop from £19 to £12.\r\n
Cabinet Member for planning and economic development, Councillor Khurshid Ahmed states:\r\n
"I believes the project is the right one for Dudley Market owing to the experience of traders, many of whom have been in business for 40-50 years.\r\n
"They have already established a strong working relationship between the council, local businesses and the other traders on the market and one of their first initiatives has seen Sunday trading in the run-up to Christmas."\r\n
Wider schemes to support the market have included the introduction of the Teenage Market and other specialist events such as a Halloween Market - the town is the only one in the Black Country that offers (800) free on-street car parking spaces in an effort to encourage tourists to the area which is a great incentive to people far and wide to visit the market.\r\n
Len Lenihan, managing director of Dudley Market Traders, says " I am really enthusiastic about the new structure which encourages increased diversity of products on the market and I have high hopes that the new fee structure will give an extra boost to traders."\r\n
As part of the £6.7m regeneration process, a fountain in the market has been brought back into use, historical buildings are being cleaned and lit and a new amphitheatre is being constructed in the nearby Coronation Gardens, further proof that every effort is being made to make the market work.\r\n
Want to contact Dudley Market Traders? Visit www.dudley.gov.uk/business/regeneration/dudley-market/\r\n
Ruper Dugdale, Head of Economic Development at Dudley MBC, presented at NABMA's One Day Conference in January 2016 about trader operation of Dudley Market. Click here to download the presentation (PDF).
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