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Fears for market
FEARS have been raised that Ringwood's historic market is “going downhill”.
Residents say the Wednesday market, which has formed part of the town's fabric since 1226, needs “a huge boost” to attract more shoppers.
Lorainne Tarrant of Lorainne Tarrant Antiques said: “The market needs a huge boost, it is going downhill.
“There used to be so many different stalls selling lots or different items. I was able to buy everything I needed. Now there are just a few stalls.
“I feel very strongly about our market, it is our heritage. If we lose our market, we lose our market town status.”
Dennis Tanner of Sopley Salads ran a stall at the market for several years but ceased trading at Ringwood following a sharp decline in his takings.
He said: “When I first started in 2003 I was taking between £400 and £600 every week and there were several fruit and vegetable stalls all making a profit.
“As the years went by my takings dropped until we were making £120 a day. It just wasn’t worth our while.
“I think there are a number of reasons why trade at the market was dropping; primarily I think it is a reflection of the way in which people shop today.
“Many people do their shopping on the internet.”
However Carol Vincent of Vincent’s Underwear said while Ringwood was one of the less busy markets, her stall was faring well.
She said: “Since my son James started running our stall in Ringwood, he has been doing really well. Yes, we could have more stalls offering more variety of goods, but it is the traffic which is a problem.
“Vehicles are still allowed to go down the High Street during the market, which can be very difficult for young mums or the elderly to negotiate.
“The stalls run along both sides of the High Street. The traders believe it would much safer for shoppers if traffic was redirected. Vans and lorries continue to make their deliveries on Wednesdays and there is the usual flow of cars both ways on the road.”
Market owner Edward Morant said: “The markets are not doing as well as they were ten years ago.
“We are more or less full in the summer, but we could do with another two or three stalls for the winter. We have a very good vegetable and fish stall.”
A market has been held in Ringwood on Wednesdays since 1226, when Henry 111 granted the Market Charter to the Earl of Pembroke.
The Morant family bought the market rights in 1792 when they purchased 2,000 acres of Ringwood and the surrounding area from Lord Arundel.