Council unveil vibrant vision for local markets
West Oxfordshire District Council is set to breathe new life into local markets, to help boost prosperity and footfall in town centres following an external review.
Cllr Duncan Enright, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Economic Development, said, “Our markets have been a big part of the community over the years but in recent years there has been a decline in the number of stalls and people visiting them.
“We commissioned Wild Property Consultants to conduct a thorough review and they offered valuable recommendations on ways we can improve the market experience at Carterton, Witney, and Chipping Norton.
“We want to reinvigorate our town centres and entice visitors back by providing a wider variety of stalls and creating a vibrant atmosphere.This is a collaborative process and so working together with town partnerships and existing stallholders will be crucial to achieving this shared vision.
"With the success of this year's Witney Christmas Market at Marriotts Walk which drew a fantastic number of visitors and left many eager to see it return next year, we've witnessed the immense popularity and positive impact that special events can make to our town centres. Our mission is to extend this to all our local markets throughout the year, so that residents can feel proud of their much-loved towns."
In a resounding success, the Witney Christmas Market drove a 59% surge in footfall compared to the same weekend the previous year and made a remarkable 70% increase in town centre footfall from the previous week. Overall, this translated to an additional 15,000 visitors over the three-day period.
The Wild Report set out a series of recommendations for how the weekly markets could be improved and managed, including through town partnerships.The Council is already working on forging these partnerships in each of the towns and among other measures, they are reviewing town centre signage and wayfinding to improve the visitor experience.
The vision for West Oxfordshire, as laid out in the 2023-2027 Council plan, is to build a district with thriving local economies and vibrant town centres. The Council recognises the crucial role its outdoor markets play in this, and hopes that by improving its markets and attracting more visitors, it will boost financial growth for town centres, create more job opportunities, and ensure stronger, happier communities.
The full market review report can be viewed at https://meetings.westoxon.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=321.