To receive a presentation from Mr. Peter Amies, Head of Community and Environment and Mr. John Trusler, Principal Engineer on the Farnborough and Aldershot markets.
The Panel received a presentation from Mr. John Trusler, Principal Engineer, on progress with the Farnborough and Aldershot markets. The Panel also welcomed Mr. Peter Amies, Head of Community and Environment to the meeting.
Mr. Trusler explained that, in December, 2014, the Cabinet had approved a review of the operating arrangements for the existing markets and car boot sales in Rushmoor. In January 2015, Cabinet had considered the outcomes of the review and supported the recommendations that the Council should bring the operation of the markets and car boot sales ‘in-house’.
Subsequently, during January and February of 2015, a small team of Officers from a range of services across the Council had developed the new business. Mr. Trusler reported that, although timelines had been tight and this had been a new way of working for the team, all deadlines had been met and in February, 2015 a new Market Manager, Claire Farrow, had been appointed. Mr. Trusler reported that the Farnborough Tuesday market had successfully opened on 3rd March, 2015, which was thriving and very popular. In May, 2015 the Farnborough Sunday market had commenced and the Panel was informed that, whilst small in comparison to the Tuesday market, it was proving popular with the public. In June, 2015 the Saturday market had commenced in Aldershot, and had played a role in supporting the VE Day celebrations. In August the official opening of the Aldershot market had taken place, in conjunction with celebrating the opening of the new look town centre. Finally, the Aldershot Thursday market was continuing to grow in popularity with both the traders and the public.
It was also reported that the Farnborough car boot sale was very popular with both buyers and sellers and a new pre-booking system had reduced queuing for sellers. Aldershot car boot had struggled to regain momentum, but had shown significant improvement in recent weeks.
With regard to the budget position, Mr. Trusler informed that Panel that the budget targets for the year of £295,000 would be achieved and would potentially provide a net additional sum of £97,000 after taking into account current operating costs and the lost income from the previous markets provider. The weekday markets were performing well, the weekend markets were still in development but continuing to grow. The Farnborough car boot was highly successful, with some changes having been made which had been well received. The Aldershot car boot was improving but would require some additional development. However, it was highlighted that the main aim had been to improve the vibrancy of the town centres.
The Panel suggested other ideas for themed markets, greater use of the gazebos, promotional ideas and the possibility of extending the operating hours for the Farnborough market. Mr. Trusler reported that future plans would include additional themed markets as well as the expansion of the Aldershot market. Other plans included the introduction of arts and crafts, the concentrated growth of the Aldershot car boot, a review of fees and charges and the introduction of new smart technology for issuing receipts and recording transactions.
The Panel congratulated Mr. Trusler on the success of the project and NOTED the presentation.