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Christmas markets plan for Helston
Christmas markets in Helston town centre look set to go ahead following a positive reaction to this summer’s street events.
Describing last month’s Midsummer Markets as “a step in the right direction” town centre manager Jonathan Birkett said lessons would be learnt in order to improve future markets in the town, but that he was “definitely going to be looking at” Christmas events and also revising the town’s existing twice-weekly markets.
He encouraged people to give their feedback on the August markets, over what worked and what didn’t, adding: “We want to give it right.”
Mr Birkett said: “I think we have learnt a significant amount from this. It’s proven we can sustain a market and do a good quality market. I think given energy and tweaks we can reach our objective of being the strongest market town in the county.”
Elements to assess included opening times, bands and mix of stalls. Mr Birkett said organisers were under pressure with the Midsummer Markets, due to issues over road closures and a relocated bus route not being resolved until shortly before the first week.
“What I thought was fantastic was the amount of feedback from people that visited,” he said.
Mr Birkett said the stallholders had been “100 per cent positive” about the experience and had good sales in many cases, adding that they had “inundated” him over wanting to do it again.
Before this happened, however, Mr Birkett said that residents and businesses also needed to be asked for their feedback.
Mr Birkett thanked the “host of volunteers” from the business community, town council and residents who helped make last month’s markets happen. These included town councillor David Swift, Robert Williams, Andy Perry and Rachel Jones from the businesses and mayor Jonathan Radford-Gaby. He also thanked Jake Riding, Martine Knight and the whole of the Epworth Hall team for their support, as well as the market team of town warden Craig Bowcutt, Fred Angove, Steve Mole and Joanne Schofield.
“It was a big collaborative effort. We had a short time to make it happen and it definitely added colour to the street. We’ll make it bigger and better,” he promised.
The stalls for the most recent four markets were hired, rather than bought, and Mr Birkett said that before committing to buying them he needed to speak to the relevant people.
“It’s easier when you own, but there’s a lot of logistics. If we were to come to a number of different markets in different areas, and you can say there’s genuine return and it can be run effectively, I think it’s worthwhile investment,” he added.
“There’s nothing I saw there [last month] that would deter me from doing it, but we look at all data that comes in.”