Plans to brighten up town’s street market

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A major investment is to be made into Melton’s street market to make it more attractive for stallholders and shoppers.

Melton Town Estate will spend £65,000 on providing bright new gazebos for stalls on Market Square and Cheapside.

They will be introduced next Easter in a bid to spruce up the appearance of the market which has used the same stall equipment for several decades.

This is the first phase of the organisation’s improvement project and the intention is to also provide the gazebos for use by stallholders at other locations.

Subject to funds being available, the plans are to make similar improvements for Nottingham Street and High Street by Easter 2018 and Sherrard Street the year after.

Town estate vice-chairman Graham Bett, who announced the news at Monday’s annual town meeting, said: “We’ve had the same stalls on the street markets for years and years and they are looking a bit tired.

“These new gazebos will be brightly coloured but they won’t be brash - they will fit in with the street scene.

“We want to give the street market a bit of a boost and encourage more stallholders and shoppers to come along.

“This is an exciting project which will benefit the town by ensuring a vibrant and successful market into the future.”

The new gazebos, which will also be quicker and easier to erect and dismantle for the town estate’s employees, will also be used at the various town centre events.

At the meeting, Mr Bett said the town estate’s coffers had been swelled by £1.4 million from the sale of 10 acres of land for housing off Nottingham Road.

This, he said, had offset a major downturn in the return on the organisation’s investments in stocks and shares.

This portfolio has reduced by £276,262 in the last year due to market trading conditions.

But the money from the land sale does allow the town estate to invest in schemes for the benefit of Melton, Mr Bett said.

Some of the cash was being used in the street market improvement scheme and some to resurface the key town centre car park on Wilton Road.

“We have been described in the past as an asset rich but cash poor organisation and ove recent years the town estate has met this challenge by reducing expenditure and driving for efficiency,” said Mr Bett.

“But there comes a point when reducing expenditure becomes part of the problem.

“This is particularly so for a charity that aims to support the valuable activities and lives of the people of Melton.

“Most of the proceeds of the sale of the land will be reinvested to provide a much-needed boost to our long-term income.”

The meeting also revealed that the new FootGolf offering at Sysonby Acres, on Asfordby Road, has impressively generated an extra £20,000 of income for the town estate since it was introduced in May.