THE INCREASING number of markets in Stratford are hitting business say high street traders.
Weekly markets are held in the town on Friday, Saturday and Sunday but during the recent May half-term holiday, stalls were set up nearly every day of the week.
And shop owners claim the markets are taking away custom and even making some local shoppers avoid the town centre altogether.
Joolz Cardozo, who owns Farringdon & Forbes in Bell Court, is among those calling for more support from Stratford District Council (SDC) for rate-paying businesses.
Ms Cardozo, who is also a member of the Stratforward BID board, said: “There are now too many markets in Stratford and, although I appreciate it’s a market town, it’s taking trade away from the businesses and with the current economic climate we need the support of the locals and tourists.
“It impacts my business hugely. Locals only like to come to town if there is something they need. It’s gone from weekends to three or four times a week.
“The markets get switched around and it doesn’t really get communicated to businesses in the town.
“The businesses pay rates and have overheads and SDC need to support us with this but there is definitely a lack of communication. SDC does not actively involve the BID when moving these markets either. SDC needs to actively look at working with the BID so we can feed back to our members. We need to find a balance.”
But SDC said the contract with market company LSD Promotions had already been altered after it listened to feedback from retailers.
A spokeswoman said: “The number of days are as agreed in the current market contract. As part of an agreed variation to the contract, which was in response to negative feedback from Henley Street retailers, the 15 market days in Henley Street was removed from the contract and replaced with two three-day events on Waterside – one which was held during the May half term and the second will be during the summer school holidays.
“These two three-day events consist primarily of a market, but the market contractor is adding free activities for children. During the recent half term there was a petting zoo – with small animals for the children to touch and experience. This was supported by storytelling and arts activities. The event in August will have a theme of ‘Markets-upon-Oz’ and will have free activities for children.
“The market contractor LSD Promotions Ltd does pay business rates and the events/markets also increase footfall into the town.”
Stratforward BID director Joe Baconnet said the organisation was aware of the complaints and was carrying out a survey on the issue of markets with member businesses.