Papers published by Ludlow Town Council on Friday pave the way to the reopening of Ludlow Market. Next Wednesday night, the council will discuss different layout options for the market (agenda). Officers are not setting out a preferred option and have not proposed a date for reopening the market.
The papers suggest that a maximum of 14 stalls and one van will be able to operate. That is one third of the market’s normal capacity of 43 stalls and three vans. There could be as few as nine stalls under the options preferred by officers.
The council has put forward two options for a social distanced layout. The papers include a third scheme but council officers say this would be more difficult to manage. The third scheme does, however, provide the most stalls.
Council officers recommend that the range of markets is reduced. Before Covid-19, the regular market ran on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The whole market was let on the first and third Sunday and on the second and fourth Thursday (for Local to Ludlow). The council also runs specialist markets on the intervening Thursdays and Sunday. Officers are suggesting the specialist markets are suspended for the duration of social distancing.
Officers are also proposing the market could operate six days a week. There would be a market on every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Markets would operate on alternative Thursdays and alternative Sundays.
The closure of the market for two months and reopening as a social distanced market have financial implications for Ludlow Town Council. By the end of June, it will have lost more than £55,000 in rent for pitches. The reduced number of pitches, any rent free period for traders and the costs of reorganising the stalls will add to the council’s costs.