Monday, 23 October 2017

Henley markets, what would you do?

A SURVEY has been launched to find ways of improving Henley’s markets. The town council wants to hear shoppers’ views following claims that the markets could be better organised.

The monthly farmers’ market has been criticised for not using local suppliers and people have suggested introducing antiques or craft stalls or reviving the food festival, which was last held in 2011.

The council set up a working group in July and members handed out the survey questionnaire at yesterday’s weekly market.

The survey can also be completed online for the next fortnight.

Gillian Nahum, retail director of the Henley Business Partnership and a member of the group, said: “The two meetings we’ve had so far have been very fruitful and I’m confident that we’ll come up with a different set-up for next year. “I think there should be a lot more emphasis on local produce and the layout could be improved at the visiting weekend markets.

“They sometimes put generators right next to benches where people want to sit and enjoy the square, which doesn’t particularly enhance the town centre. Those were my concerns as a resident, not just a retailer, and having spoken to many other businesses, I believe I’m expressing a majority view.”

Town centre manager Peter McConnell, who is also on the group, said: “It’s been a long time since anyone has really looked into Henley’s markets in any detail. “We want to find out what value they provide for residents and whether they’re actually meeting their needs.

“I think the weekly markets are fine but it’s a question of what people would like to see happen with the other ones.

“As a resident myself, I know I would like to see better quality stalls and a more vibrant market culture.”

Henley’s weekly market was granted a royal charter by Henry VI in the 1400s and is thought to date back to 1269.

The town has hosted a monthly farmers’ market since 2001 and has Continental or similar markets on four weekends a year.

The rest of the working group comprises town councillors Elizabeth Hodgkin, Pam Phillips, Joan Bland and Will Hamilton.

To complete the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/qcb3vyl

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