Bolton Market StrategyOverview
(MARKETS 16 BPa)
Bolton's Market Service has reached a critical
point in its ongoing development. Its primary site at Ashburner
Street is poised to be the focal point of the soon to be developed
Bolton Innovation Zone (BIZ). Its satellite venues at Horwich,
Westhoughton and Farnworth are also the subject of interesting
and ongoing developments as the Borough looks to stay ahead of
its regional peers and maintain a prime position behind Manchester
in the North West.
Following the Value for Money Review (VFM) earlier
this year, the Service has put in place a number of initiatives
aimed at reducing costs, increasing occupancy and reducing arrears
(these are critical success factors for the business). This will
allow the Service to negotiate the short term. In tandem with
this work, redevelopment and refurbishment proposals for Horwich,
Westhoughton and Farnworth are gathering pace and will see changes
in the way in which the Service is delivered at a more local level
in these three areas in the medium to long term.
To kick start this and in response to business
need, the Service has been re-branded to reflect the community
focus that is a local Market and has commenced a programme of
awareness raising interventions designed to keep the current customer
base and entice new shoppers and traders especially to the Ashburner
Finally, the Service has commenced dialogue
with partners both inside and external to the Council, to deliver
added value to the Borough wide priorities as set out in the Bolton's
Big Plan. These include working with the local PCT on healthy
eating initiatives, looking at the use of the Working Neighbourhood
Fund and Area Based Grant to kick start new, small retail businesses
on Markets and working up a brief to enable the Service to deliver
street trading consents, thematic markets and other events across
It is acknowledged, that this work needs to
be brought together, articulated more strategically and that the
Council be involved in that process. As a result, this report
will outline, in broad terms, the actions and areas of work that
are or will be undertaken, in the short to medium term, to help
deliver added value against the Boroughs key priority areas these
Safe, Strong and Confident.
Achieving and Prosperous.
The remainder of this report will highlight
headline actions that will help to deliver against these objectives
along with the reference list that will be used to underwrite
the thinking behind the Markets Strategy for Bolton.
There is a school of thought that describes
Markets as a "Public Good". This concept is based on
the heritage that surrounds the industry in that many Local Authorities
have Market Charter Rights which were handed down centuries ago
as an act of benevolence by the relevant Monarch at that time.
These actions allowed for the development of commerce around the
Market site that, over time, saw Markets and Market Halls being
built as statements of civic pride.
Bolton's Charter dates back to 1251 AD
(the charter was granted during the reign of Henry III to William
De Ferrers, the Earl of Derby, for the holding of markets &
fairs) and gives the Council the legal right to control rival
market style events within the Borough and beyond. This same heritage
has seen Markets become the focal point of towns and cities throughout
the UK and even today these venues give identity, pride and a
sense of belonging to local communities. Markets are also an internationally
understood brand/environment. They offer a backdrop for communities
old and new to come together in an easily understood environment
to trade, shop, experience new cultures, or just people watch.
The social dynamic of a Market environment and
its low barriers to business entry creates simple and understandable
opportunities for local people and migrant communities to become
economically active. Managed correctly, the product mix within
a typical Market environment can reflect the diverse nature of
todays social environment. For Bolton's community the market can
help in promoting cultural education and allowing the Council
to "Place Keep" as well as "Place Make". This
helps to sustain communities and re-enforces messages of harmony
through food, culture, lifestyle and music.
Initiatives to progress these ideals at a strategic
level will see a testing out of:
Soft loan schemes for the development
of new businesses and those that add cultural value to the shopping
repertoire on Bolton's Markets.
Social statement of theme days at Bolton's
Markets such as International Women's Day which highlight national/international
issues and demonstrate an awareness of "the bigger picture"
as far as the local markets service is concerned.
Work towards making Ashburner Street
a Regional Food Tourist Hub. This will include closer relationships
with the restaurants (both existing and emerging) of the Borough
and with organizations such as A Taste of Lancashire and the Ribble
Valley Food Trail.
Aligning the re-development of out district
Market venues alongside other community benefits such as post
offices, building schools for the future (BSF), health drop-in
centres (planned PCT developments for the Borough), libraries
and local transport hubs to make it easier for those without personal
transport or the older community to "one stop shop"
at local level more often and more easily.
Delivering a monthly food demonstration
calendar at Ashburner St Market that showcases community celebration
and religion through food tasting and recipes. For example January
2009 will see a celebration of the Chinese New Year by demonstrating
a healthy stir fry meal using ingredients from the market and
delivered by the local PCT health/chef nutritionist.
The Service currently nurtures over 300 small
businesses and provides direct and in-direct employment for over
500 people at the Ashburner St venue alone. In addition it
offers access to good quality, low cost food staples to the more
deprived communities of the Borough as well as using local supply
chains for fresh food and vegetables. There are a number of initiatives
that will form part of the ongoing Service Strategy within this
context. These will include:
Accessing Working Neighbourhood Funding
to underwrite initiatives that will help to supply new entrepreneurs
into the industry at local level. It is hoped that this will manifest
in the creation of a Markets Apprenticeship Scheme at local level
although funding will be an issue.
Working with national bodies such as
the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA)
the National Market Traders Federation (NMTF) and the World Union
of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) to lobby for Government and European
funding to promote the Markets industry.
This work is ongoing and at present we are seeking
to submit case study material to a national policy development
project. The Service is also commencing work on a regional bid
to create ambulant trading opportunities based on the European
model of street trading using bespoke trailers as the selling
unit instead of the more traditional stall.
In addition, the Service networks across Europe
to share good practice and is in early discussions with Barcelona's
Market Authority to "twin" with them at some time in
the near future. This is helping to raise Bolton's profile within
Europe. Other local actions include:
Creating partnerships with local creative
industries, Town Centre Management and local businesses to deliver
themed markets and events designed to generate tourism footfall,
increase civic pride and engender community involvement.
The Service is already an active member of the
Bolton Tourism Forum and has working links with Highways, Regeneration,
the Economic Development Department and Corporate Property Services
and is currently preparing a bid to release Area Based Grant Funding
to help underwrite the work detailed above These business relationships
and funding stream (if successful) will be developed over time
to include meaningful input in the Boroughs Event and Animation
Strategy, Public Realm Strategy and Property Portfolio Strategy
especially in relation to the Borough wide market venues at Horwich,
Farnworth and Westhoughton.
Current examples of actions in this area include
commencing dialogue with traders and businesses at Westhougton
regarding future developments and looking at the options available
around the "Nerve Centre" initiative which is a local
website that connects the local creative industries to business
(retail and showcasing) opportunities available.
In addition the service is in the process of
purchasing a number of demountable open market stalls to progress
street trading initiatives in the Town Centre and for use showcasing
opportunities for current and new small businesses. A photo of
a prototype stall which was used at this years Bolton University
Freshers Week to capture new customers is included below.
This stall was used in the recent "Fresher's
Week" promotion and Bolton University where over 700 new
customer names/details were captured for future marketing campaigns.
In order to maximise returns for the Council
and its partners under this priority, the service will undertake
the following actions during the course of this strategy document.
These are designed to help narrow the health inequality gap that
exists within the Borough.
Partnerships with the PCT and the School
Meals service will be developed to work on and deliver a coordinated
approach to health interventions for all sections of the community.
Ashburner Street Markets unique selling
point (food) will be used as the focus for all future marketing
This work has already started with a joint collaboration
using a national campaign (British Food Fortnight) as the backdrop
for highlighting local food.
To complement the healthy eating interventions
within schools the Markets Service undertook the first of its
monthly food demonstrations at Bolton market using local produce
and ingredients cooked on site by the School Meals training chef.
This will also form part of the overall marketing campaign for
the venue as well as complementing ongoing initiatives for school
meals within the Borough.
Work will start early in the new year to create
a demonstration kitchen in the food hall at Asburner St which
over time should allow audience participation to take place for
example by offering the opportunity to "have a go" or
teach parents and children cooking skills together. This fits
in with similar initiatives currently being developed by the PCT
who are targeting deprived communities as part of their food education
Other Interventions will include prescribing
the market as a diagnostic venue for helping to change the diets
of overweight and unhealthy Bolton residents. To reinforce the
theme, free to enter competitions designed to drive footfall will
capture customer data and will feature healthy prizes such as
"fitness" Wii computer games systems, bicycles and free
trials at gymnasiums.
Other ideas that will be employed are:
The fruit and vegetable voucher scheme.
School visits to Ashburner Street including
talks on where food comes from.
A range of Market based "healthy
eating" recipes driven by the website and by selected traders.
In the longer term research will be undertaken
to look at the feasibility of aggregating new market venues with
other new build ventures particularly in terms of provision of
older people, health centres and leisure activities such as libraries.
These opportunities may be most appropriate within the outlying
areas of the Borough, such as Horwich.
These two priorities will be enhanced in the
longer term by ensuring that the Markets Service gains accreditation
in ISO 14001 (Environmental good practice). In doing so,
various interventions will become common practice around such
things as recycling targets for organic waste, cardboard, wood,
shrink wrap and plastic. Alongside this work, the Service will
begin work on detailing the provenance of its food supply chain
by working more closely with local food hubs (wholesale markets
and local producers/farmers) to quantify environmental good practice
on Carbon footprint and CO2 emissions of the Service.
This will automatically feed into the work currently
being progressed on a Food Strategy for the Borough in terms of
food security, local supply chain analysis and collaborating with
our own School Meals Service and the Council Childrens Services
to add value to existing initiatives designed to tackle food poverty
and improve wellbeing targets. It will also explore ideas to join
up issues such as community growing projects, the reworking of
current supported employment models to look at (for example) a
local bicycle delivery service and developing the Markets website
so as to encourage some degree of "E tailing". As this
develops and networking improves the Service fully expects to
manage the current Local Farmers Market/Local Produce Market and
develop additional venues around the Borough such as Horwich.
The initiative that started with "Freshers
Week", at Bolton University earlier this month to gather
personal data from potential new customers will continue. This
will allow for personalised and (where appropriate) electronic
marketing to take place thus reducing the use of more carbon costly
methodologies such as buses. Eventually it is hoped that various
inanimate Council Infrastructures might be used to promote the
Markets. This could mean, for example, using existing lamp posts
for franchised "barrel" advertising and banner site
advertising at arterial roadway junctions.
Other advertising methodologies will include
highlighting the reduced packaging used by market traders in comparison
to the supermarkets and re-enforcing this message with free bio
degradable bags and regular "food basket" shopping comparisons.