Small businesses in Portsmouth could have opportunity to trade at markets

SMALL businesses in Portsmouth could be given the 'additional opportunity' to use market stalls in a bid to boost trade amid the pandemic.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 4:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th June 2020, 10:39 am
Weekly markets in Portsmouth have now re-opened. Pictured is the Southsea French market in Palmerston Road. Picture: Portsmouth City Council
Weekly markets in Portsmouth have now re-opened. Pictured is the Southsea French market in Palmerston Road. Picture: Portsmouth City Council

The city council has confirmed it will be 'responsive to demand' if local traders ask for extra support now that Portsmouth's markets have reopened.

Councillor Steve Pitt, the council's culture, leisure and economic development boss, said: ‘We now have market stalls operating every week from 8am to 4pm in the city centre on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Cosham on Monday and Southsea on Wednesday - all following social distancing guidelines.

'We are also planning for Hampshire Farmers' Market to return to Southsea on June 21 and a Love Southsea market in July.

'We absolutely recognise that we need to be responsive to demand and if we are being asked to provide additional opportunities for small businesses to trade, we will look to make that happen both at existing market sites and any others that are practical and where there is likely to be the customer footfall to support them.'

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It comes as the Office for National Statistics reported only a quarter of businesses that temporarily closed during the Covid-19 crisis plan to reopen their doors within the next month, despite government guidance that shops can open from June 15.

Deputy Conservative leader in Portsmouth, Cllr Luke Stubbs, was keen to see the council to create temporary markets to help local businesses. He said: 'The retail sector is under unparalleled pressure. Many closed shops will never reopen.

'There’s a limit to what local government can do to help, but one positive step it could take is to allow temporary markets in town centres.

'Why not make free pitches available to people who have a bricks-and-mortar retails business in the city? That would allow them to bring in at least some money and could make the difference between surviving and folding.

'Possible sites in the city centre include the pedestrianised part of Isambard Kingdom Brunel Road, the Arundel Street precinct and Guildhall Square.'

Market customers are advised to follow social distancing rules when queuing and to use contactless payments where possible.

Stalls are spaced out with lines drawn for customers to stand behind, and anti-bacterial wipes will be provided and all goods will be handled by the traders using gloves.

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