This evening’s Express & Star letters page featured a real gem, and unusually for the paper, they’d actually awarded this sensible communique ‘Letter of the day’ – an award normally reserved for the dribbling ramblings of various ranters whose output tends to be so right wing, it would embarrass Mussolini himself. It’s a cracking letter about the demise of Brownhills Market, as seen from the perspective of a trader. The traders – as you’ll no doubt remember – were recently branded ‘selfish’ by Walsall cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Adrian Andrew, for the crime of taking their wares to a place where there were real customers and a functioning market. Perhaps Mr. Andrew might like to reflect on the views of the traders, and cease the revisionist nonsense Walsall Council keeps spouting about ‘stepping in to save Brownhills Market’. It is certainly beginning to look as if the council’s incompetence, dithering and desperate desire to over-monetise has killed it. Well done, chaps – if one of you is last to leave, please switch the lights off.
If you’re reading this, Mr. Flavell, please get in touch, I’d be interested to chat with you. That’s brownhillsbob at googlemail dot com. Cheers.
As one of the longest standing traders on Brownhills market (24 years), I would like to reply to Cllr Andrew’s comments about “selfish market traders” .
When the market was relaunched, it was made clear to the council that rents were far too high for the size of the stalls, but this fell on deaf ears (because the council kows best).
For the first three weeks the market drew in a big crowd, but this was only out of curiosity and public numbers soon fell away when they saw what a small market it really was.
Councillors have tried to take all the credit for saving Brownhills Market, but they are the ones who drove away Spook Erection Ltd (private market operators) away by making the terms of the new lease so complicated that they had no choice other than to walk away.
It has been made very clear to me that when it comes to running a new market, the council really does not have a clue, as most of its staff comes from other council departments and do not have the experience of a private operator.
If Cllr Andrew thinks that a small rent discount would be enough to get the traders running back, then this shows how out of touch he really is. I wonder if he would like to tell the locals how many tens of thousands of pounds of council tax funds have been wasted on this tin pot venture.
Believe me, every one of those “selfish” traders would be back for a £10 rent while the market re-established itself, but I suppose that this will also fall on deaf ears!
I can only feel sorry for the town’s shopkeepers who are tied to long leases and are trying to survive in a ghost town, and for the fantastic locals who have been deprived of their market due to the council’s incompetence . and stubbornness.
I do not really believe that Walsall Council will ever revive this market, and should therefore cut its losses now, and let a private operator sort out this sorry state of affairs to give the town a real market again.Andrew Flavell, Woodlands Avenue, Water Orton, Birmingham.