Editor’s weekly column: Market forces could help boost town

Neil Pickford is the editor of the Harborough Mail
Neil Pickford is the editor of the Harborough Mail

This week’s Mail features two stories that are going to run and run this year.

The first is the on-going controversy surrounding the proposed new Tesco store on the old Focus site in Market Harborough.

Many people have already nailed their colours to the mast and one of the key concerns appears to be the damage that could be done to retailing in the town centre.
So, how refreshing it is to see the traders who have been moved out of the Market Hall and onto The Square embracing the change and many actively welcoming it.

It has to be said that while the “sheds” have attracted some criticism, it has been great to see traders on The Square prospering.

There is something quite pleasing about seeing these traders and their wares laid out in the open air.

There is a town not a million miles away from here that has spent large amounts of money on its Market Square but does not hold its market there. Perhaps, once the Market Hall has been refurbished and the traders are back home, Harborough District Council could look at the feasibility of holding weekly open-air markets on The Square.

The traders we spoke to seem happy, the shoppers seem happy and it has added a certain amount of atmosphere to the town.

Let’s try to tap into that and boost the town centre in the face of possible competition on the edge of town.

Column by Neil Pickford.

Follow Neil on Twitter, @NeilPickfordHM.