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West Suffolk markets are ‘scratching to make a living’, warns councillor





Local markets are ‘scratching to make a living’, a councillor has warned.

Cllr Andy Neal, representing Mildenhall, raised concerns over struggles the markets across the district were facing during last night’s West Suffolk Council meeting.

He said: “Our markets are West Suffolk towns’ history and should be embraced, featured and preserved, not neglected the way I feel they currently are.

Bury St Edmunds market. Picture: Mark Westley
Bury St Edmunds market. Picture: Mark Westley

“We have a duty of care to our historical markets. Currently, they are failing by design and are being grossly undervalued.”

Despite market charges being frozen in some areas as part of yesterday’s approved budget proposals, and the investment into calling for more stallholders to join Makers Markets, Cllr Neal said more still needed to be done.

Cllr Indy Wijenayaka, who is responsible for growth, said the problems facing the markets were a result of several factors including the cost-of-living crisis and a change in shopping behaviours post-Covid.

Cllr Indy Wijenayaka said the problems facing the markets were a result of several factors, including the cost-of-living crisis and a change in shopping behaviours post-Covid. Picture: submitted
Cllr Indy Wijenayaka said the problems facing the markets were a result of several factors, including the cost-of-living crisis and a change in shopping behaviours post-Covid. Picture: submitted

He added: “We are not leaving these markets to die — it is a very serious issue and we are taking it very seriously.

“I would ask every person to have a bit of patience and understand we are going through a process to come up with the best possible answer to the residents of West Suffolk.”

Cllr Wijenayaka also revealed the council was creating a plan to invest more in the district’s markets.

Cllr Andy Neal has warned that local markets are ‘scratching to make a living’. Picture: submitted
Cllr Andy Neal has warned that local markets are ‘scratching to make a living’. Picture: submitted

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Neal said he was disappointed and hoped more concrete answers had been given. He called on councillors of all political colours to make sure markets remained viable.

He added: “How patient can market traders be, they’ve hung on for years, not months, years — the impact is so great on them, they’re scratching to make a living.”