A market trader with over four decades of experience has slammed the decision to spend £12,000 on retail consultants to indentify ways to boost trade .
Larry Gresham was chairman of the now defunct Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable branch of the Market Traders Associations.
He and fellow retired town centre trader Colin Ashby have criticised the decision by Leighton-Linslade Town Council to spend £12,000 on consultants The Retail Group to carry out an analysis of the market, which latest figures reveal is running at a loss for a third year.
And seeing the list of preliminary observations made by The Retail Group – Mr Gresham was scathing in his critique.
“It’s completely stupid,” he said. “It talks about the cheap fabric on the stalls, never mind the fact the council themselves chose it. We know what the problems are with the market.”
The Retail Group raised questions about the market’s poor visibility, being split across both sides of the high street, poor stall fabric, dated fixtures, ‘old school’ presentation standards, and traders not visibly engaging with customers.
On the latter point, Mr Gresham said: “What are we supposed to do, lie on the ground and beg?
“Traders know what they’re doing.”
Mr Ashby added: “I do not want the town’s money wasted on unnecessary items such as retail consultants... to give the council information they already have for free. They want to charge £12,000 for their services and that is just the start. The information they want to compile is basic.
“The premise is simple. We need to get more people in to use the market and get more market traders in to attract more people in.
“A bit like chicken and egg. Using consultants will not solve it.”