Calls for public to support Wrexham’s markets as coronavirus results in significant drop in footfall
Calls have been made for people to support a town’s markets as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant drop in footfall.
Wrexham’s three indoor markets were forced to close their doors towards the end of March as all non-essential retail businesses were ordered to shut to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Butchers Market, General Market and Tŷ Pawb reopened at the beginning of July with a number of safety measures in place, including one-way systems and hand sanitiser stations.
However, all three have witnessed a large reduction in visitors of more than 40 per cent compared to last year.
Wrexham Council’s lead member for economy Cllr Terry Evans said traders were facing a challenging time.
In a report set go before his colleagues next week, he said: “Since the re-opening of non-essential retail, trade in the markets is very slow. Feedback from traders is that sales are at an all-time low.
“Although the footfall has been increasing in the town centre at approximately 5,000 per week, the benefit is not being seen in the markets and this is believed to be linked to the fact that the markets are indoors.
“Although the reduction is by a similar proportion, the starting footfall at Tŷ Pawb is higher than the other two indoor markets which may be as a result of the additional space and the more diverse offer available, including the food court.
“For comparison, footfall data for a six week period in August and September is presented in the table below. This shows that compared to Wrexham town centre as a whole, the overall reduction footfall into the indoor markets is more significant.”
The report shows the Butcher’s Market has taken the worst hit proportionately with weekly average visitor number dropping from 8,365 in 2019 to 4,693 this year (43.9 per cent).
The amount of people going into the Tŷ Pawb market and arts centre has also tumbled from 11,860 to 6,665 (43.8 per cent), while numbers in the General Market have gone down from 1,445 to 835 (42.2 per cent).
It compares to a reduction of just under 26 per cent for the town centre as a whole, which is still attracting around 100,000 visitors a week.
The council is seeking to assist market traders by entering into discussions over potential concessions on their bills.
Rob Clarke, who runs the Mad4Movies film store in the Butchers Market, said it was also crucial for residents to continue supporting local businesses.
He said: “Obviously in the current climate its hard for small businesses but personally I cannot fault my regulars who have continued to support me since I came back after the lockdown.
“There are measures in place to make sure the markets are safe and adhere to government guidelines and I think people appreciate that.
“We need local people to continue to support us during these tough times.
“With the local restrictions now in place that people from outside the area are not allowed into town it’s more important than ever.”
The report on how Wrexham town centre is recovering from the coronavirus will go to the council’s employment, business and investment scrutiny committee on Thursday, 22 October.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter
Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email News@Wrexham.com