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‘Use it or lose it’ plea over farmers’ market
STALLHOLDERS at a struggling farmers’ market in Witney have issued a stark warning to use it or lose it.
Witney Farmers’ Market has been hit by falling customer numbers and the amount of stalls has dwindled to about 10.
Last year, the market moved from Market Square on Wednesdays to Marriotts Walk Shopping Centre on Fridays in an attempt to boost trade.
It is now held on the last Friday of every month and the next market day will be on Friday, September 28.
Liz Styan, who runs Styan Family Produce, said: “The long and short of it is that we need the customers to come to the market.
“It is a vicious circle, if we do not get customers, stallholders drift away then you get less customers and eventually it collapses in on itself.
“The message is use us or lose us.”
She added: “Trade had been slacking off and there was a general feeling it would help to move the market it to a Friday.
“Marriotts Walk came along and everyone jumped at the chance.”
She added: “Trade has not reduced any more but equally it did not bounce back either.”
She said a combination of factors had caused the drop in trade, including roadworks two years ago, the recession and an ageing clientele.
The market includes stalls selling locally-produced meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables, flowers, jams and wine.
Mary Hallam, of Thames Valley Farmers’ Market, which runs the market, said meetings are set to be held with stallholders and West Oxfordshire District Council in a bid to change its fortunes.
Shopper Catherine Maddison said: “Food from the farmers’ market is fresher and it has nothing bad in it. It is a no brainer.”