Car parking rate

Dorchester market income improves after pandemic

Market income in Dorchester is said to have improved significantly since the end of the Covid restrictions.

Market traders have been praised for continuing to open throughout the pandemic.

But the fall in trading led to lower revenue for the 2021-22 financial year, down more than £35,000 with a shortfall on the Sunday vault revenue budget.

There was also a loss of rental income from the Cornhill Street Market and a reduction in the share of parking fees.

A report to the Joint Market Panel on Wednesday August 3rd says market operators Ensors are now reporting a ‘significant improvement’ on the prior year, with the number of visitors and traders increasing again in the market .

Councilors will be advised that the final net surplus for distribution in 2021/22 was £85,402 against a budget of £121,197, a shortfall of £35,795.

Of the net amount, £13,154 went to the Sunday Car Boot Reserve (against a budget of £18,900); £46,961 to Dorset Council (against a budget of £66,493) and £25,287 to Dorchester Town Council (against a budget of £35,804).

A verbal report will be presented to the advisors at the August 3 meeting on the latest financial situation, which is said to be positive, and on the progress made on the actions which may be necessary to maintain the success of the market and attract a younger clientele.

Many existing customers tend to be older, with the market popular for seasonal fruit and vegetables, plants and flowers, although it also offers a selection of food, pet products and clothing .

The main Wednesday market and the Sunday car boot, as well as other occasional markets in the town, are run jointly by Dorset Council and Dorchester Town Council, each taking a share of the profits, with Dorset Council taking the most large amount.

The Wednesday market is run by Wimborne-based Ensors, although advisers have considered extending their contract – with the company previously suggesting it may only consider continuing if there is to be a substantial investment from advisers to improve facilities and make the market more attractive to a wider audience.

Some councilors in Dorchester have been pushing for several years for the city council to take over the day-to-day running of the markets.

John Smith

The author John Smith