Open letter response
If the council makes around £2100 from the external markets, but they run at a cost of £3800. That’s a supposed loss of £1700 in a year.
If there are 10 external markets – that’s a loss of £170 per event. Given that these markets have 38 gazebos. 170 / 38 = £4.47 Given that these markets are very busy and the standholders all appear to do well due to them being free entry events on weekends. Did the council ask the organisers if a rise of £4.47 in stall rent would be possible. I bet they didn’t, because they knew they would have said ‘yes we think the standholders can absorb that’, at least give the organisers the chance to make it work.
This whole talk of money is just ridiculous and embarrassing, that cost could have easily been passed on to the stand holders. Even if there is a cost – a small one is justified – It’s about having regular events that bring people to the town centre – people who spend money in local shops, cafes and pay for parking! I think there is only 1 antique shop left in Nantwich and more charity shops than you can mention – the antiques market brought dealers and fresh new stock and life to the centre of town. Nantwich is a historical market town steeped in history – antiques and vintage markets complement that very well. It’s about bringing people into the area for regular events. Doesn’t anybody understand that?
They say that they can’t recruit the staff to set up the gazebos – well there doesn’t seem to be any problem with staffing the council run markets – that the council are still keeping? Is that run from a different budget? How much are they losing on each event? Where are those figures? Sounds more like the council is conveniently doing the dirty on organisers – who brought their expertise and standholders to set up these events originally. I think one of these organisers has worked with the council for nearly 20 years. The organiser just got an email saying the events were cancelled and that was it and the decision was final. That is quite a bullying tactic, just getting rid of somebody like that. Not even a phone call. No opportunity to try and work something out. Remember these antique markets are successful events.
This is NOT going to inspire outside organisations to want to partner with the council in the future, if they think they can just get shafted later down the line after they have done all the hardwork building up the events. Don’t under estimate the amount of work, experience, professionalism, paid advertising and the standholders these organisers bring with them.
This talk of the council saying they are in talks with the organisers now is only because there has been a backlash by the public. It is just damage limitation PR speak. People want to see actions not PR waffle.
With interest rates going skyward and peoples mortgages and heating bills going up with them. Money is going to get really tight for everybody in the future, I am sure there will be people who would take on the work of setting up the gazebos. People will get up in the morning if it’s going to help pay the mortgage or heating bills. I hope this isn’t because the person responsible for recruiting is just not good at their job. I hope they have been more proactive than just putting an ad in the local job centre.
Maybe some enterprising people reading this article might want to approach the council offering their services in erecting gazebos. Obviously it is a physical job.
A climbing wall, might be ok for kids as one off occasional event but it’s not going to pull anyone in when it’s raining, these are all weather gazebos – for small businesses. What about older people, mums and dads. People aren’t going to travel to Nantwich to see a climbing wall, great for a kids summer fair, but it’s not a long term solution.
Also you want to see more children’s events? Where? This is a town square – you can’t do football or fish in a town square – you didn’t state any new events that will take place in the square? It’s just waffle that anyone can see is not well thought out.
You say more Live music? There have been buskers playing regularly alongside these fairs all summer. If they are going to have bands? Who’s paying for that? Who takes the financial hit when it rains and no one shows up.
The fact there was no consultation stinks. Is this how the council is going to operate in the future with other outside organisations.
In terms of finding staff to do the set up – these events don’t start up again until May. If someone is saying they can’t find staff in 6 months, they are not doing their job and they probably need to be considering their position.
I have been a standholder for over 8 years at the Nantwich antiques market. I also run one of the biggest online antique portals in the UK. www.antiques-atlas.com (established 22 years). Our fairs diary is ‘number 1’ on google. We promote these events extensively. Ask anyone who visits antique fairs what online resource they use to find them and pretty much everyone uses us. So it’s fair to say I know a fair bit about antique fairs and markets and how difficult organising them are.
The council seriously need to relook at this. Cancelling these markets is potentially a MASSIVE OWN GOAL and they have seriously misjudged the reaction of the public. I’d be worrying about these organisers getting snapped up by other surrounding towns and taking their standholders with them! Have any of these councillors actually been to the Saturday antiques market? and spoken to the public and standholders? – it’s buzzing, friendly and must be the envy of all the other surrounding towns. Lots of people travel from outside the area to visit the antiques market. Isn’t that what the council’s role in all this is?
Just remember which councillors made this decision when you see a climbing wall in the middle of an empty square.
This decision needs to be looked at again.
I am setting up a dedicated web page where people can voice their support at www.savenantwichantiquesmarket.co.uk In the meantime feel free to contact me at email@example.com
I will also be contacting the press, media and television to take this forward.