Help us get our customers back plead traders

Following the completion of a £500,000 project to improve parts of the town centre independent traders are calling on the council for more help.

Improvements on Market Street in Gainsborough G130611-2c
Improvements on Market Street in Gainsborough G130611-2c

Traders say they suffered a ‘huge’ fall in customers for the duration of the work on Church Street and Market Street.

Now as they start to rebuild their customer base, they are calling on West Lindsey District Council to do more to help them.

Matthew Lonsdale who runs Emmaloos Cafe on Market Street said customers were ‘slowly coming back’.

“But it is going to take a long time. The works went on for nearly six months and some people probably don’t know its finished now,” he said.

“The council needs to start looking at what the next step will be to help us get more people back into the town again - it can’t just end here.”

Trevor Halsted who runs Church Street Cycles said offering permanent free parking for one or two hours would make a big difference.

He added: “There has been a huge decline of footfall in the town during the works.”

“Offering the first one or two hours parking for free in council car parks would help encourage people into town. Plenty of other towns do it, so why can’t Gainsborough?”

The Public Realm Improvement Scheme included repaving the streets and the installation of new lighting and planters.

The council celebrated the completion of the regeneration works by offering free town centre parking on market days.

And it is now offering new Saturday traders a stall for a reduced rate, with six months half price rental working out at £7.55 a stall.

Coun Malcolm Parish, chairman of prosperous communities committee at the council said: “We want to encourage people to buy local and there is no better way than by visiting Gainsborough market.”

But this isn’t convincing all of the traders, who think more needs to be done, including getting the empty units occupied.

“We need less empty units and more events going on to make people aware there is more to Gainsborough,” added Mr Lonsdale.

“If that doesn’t happen then we have suffered the disruption for nothing.”