Plans for evening entertainment at Doncaster market are a hit with the public - but traders believe there are better ways to boost the facility.
Proposals for the site which have been put forward would see the borough’s historic market opened up in the evening with entertainment laid on for the public at the market’s public square.
Traders would sell food and drink from the stalls while the public enjoyed the evening’s activities.
Full details of how the market will be revamped have not yet been revealed - but the proposals include the evening opening plans which already operate in markets in some parts of the country.
Shoppers in Doncaster town centre this week said they were excited at the prospect of a late opening market, combined with a show for the customers.
Some said they would even consider bringing friends from out of town into the borough to take it in as something different to do on an evening.
Dawn Chappell, aged 47, was on a day trip to Doncaster from Barnsley when she spoke to the Free Press.
She liked the sound of the plans.She said: “I think it’s a good idea, and I think I’d go to something like that, and I think my friends would go too.”
Sam Wilson, a 27-year-old mum from Woodlands also thought it was a good idea. She said: “I would go if I could get a baby sitter, and I think my friends would too. It wouldn’t hurt to try it.”
Her friend Nikki Hathaway, aged 32, from Sprotbrough was also keen to try a markets night, but thought its success may be weather dependant
She said: “I think in summer it would be good, but perhaps not so much in winter, although I can see it working well over Christmas with mulled wine and such things. I think people would spend there and I would go.”
Married couple Stephen and Georgina Rhodes, who now live in Rotherham, also thought they would go to evening events at the market.
Stephen,aged 43, was brought up in Stainforth. He said: “I think it’s a great idea. There are a lot of people who work who don’t get to the market, and I would definitely go. I think I’d go out of my way for it.”
Wife Georgina, aged 40, originally from Armthorpe, said: “I think it would be great for businesses around here if the night life means people are out for the evening at the market. It would bring more people into the market. I think it’s a great idea.”
Kate Wilmot, aged 28, of Thorne, said she thought the suggestion seemed like a reasonable idea, but had reservations.
She said: “I think it depends how it is monitored. I would need to see if there were drunken louts there or people who were well behaved. I might go, although it would depend on the entertainment that was on.
“I don’t go to town very much now because I’m worried about antisocial behaviour.”
The public might like the idea of late night opening at the market - but traders are less keen and many feel bosses should instead look at parking.
Few of the traders who spoke to the Free Press planned to open late - and saw the key to a successful market as better parking and less antisocial behaviour.
Philip Morgan has run The Crab Stall on the fish market for 15 years, but said he would not open at night because he did not think he would get enough customers.
He said: “I think the best thing to turn the market around would be to offer two hours free parking. At present people go to the supermarkets because they don’t have to pay to park.
“The other problem is that by the time people get to the car they have three or four beggars asking them for their money. I think the way to sort that out is for the police to be there moving them on.”
James Mitchell, who runs the B Taylor and Son fishmonger, and has worked at the market for 30 years on and off. He now has his own stall.
He said the extra hours involved in opening in the evening would be too much for him.
He said: “I start at 6am, and working 6am until 5pn is enough for anyone.
“We want more footfall. I think the people of Doncaster should support their local market. I think the best thing would be to fetch car parking charges down and having more street artists.
“I would rather have the entertainment when I’m open, during the day. I don’t know if anyone would open in the evening.”
Carl Cheesmond, who has been a trader for four years selling eggs, said markets bosses should try it if they could make it work, and he may open late at Easter, before Christmas and around bank holidays.
But he added: “I don’t think you’ll turn Doncaster into Covent Garden.”
He said the market competed on quality and price and he thought the quality at the market was higher, along with the variety and choice. He sells duck eggs, and does not believe many supermarkets do the same. He thought the market needed more promotion.
Adrian Hurley, who has been trading as Adrian’s Pets for 30 years on the Wool Market also wants to see better parking. He and fellow trader Jason Barker, who runs Barker’s Curtain Corner, both want to see parking extended all the way to the Wool Market, using space currently occupied by the Irish Middle Market.
Neither plan to open into the night.
But one trader who said he would like to open in the evenings was Parwaiz Noori, who has been running his Donny Huffnpuff stall for two years. He said: “It’s not a bad idea. We took part in a late opening night last year, and we got new customers that had never been before. It is people who can’t get down here during the day time. I would be happy to open late.”