17 April 2015

The important matter of Britain’s markets

I remember the local market very well. It was an important part of my early life growing up in rural Devon. It took place every Saturday in the nearest big town, a gloriously messy mingling of delicious smells, bizarre yet useful items and intriguing homegrown veggies. 
 
To quote VisitBritain, markets are ‘unique, quirky, unusual, and always a bargain.' 
 
However, in recent years Britain’s town centres have started to suffer from loss of interest as a result of the current spate of out-of-town shopping malls. In both the public and private sector, various initiatives have sprung up to try and combat this trend and save the country’s town centres. 
 
A new report takes things a step further. Published by the Institute of Place Management and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), this research focuses specifically on the value of markets as significant drivers for the economic, social and political health of Britain’s towns and cities. 
 
Based on a combination of footfall data analyses and reviews of published evidence, the report offers 25 concrete reasons why markets still matter for our towns and cities. Conclusions drawn from the research also demonstrate that markets can act as vital catalysts for city centre change. Written in a lively and accessible style, the full report is well worth a read. You can find it here on the MMU website.