I suspect I detect a degree of sarcasm in Mr Dearling’s letter about the late night market.
The market, which was organised by Discover King’s Lynn (King’s Lynn BID) and not the borough council, helped to attract many more shoppers into the town centre than the equivalent day last year and many retailers have reported an excellent night’s trading. I thought the atmosphere on the night was fantastic. How many other towns would have a Christmas elf jazz band, a rock choir and a singing nun in an electric chair entertaining shoppers (many of whom had taken advantage of the free parking also organised by Discover King’s Lynn) as well as the market. The stalls were deliberately arranged throughout the town to encourage shoppers to explore the whole of the town centre. This certainly was the case for Norfolk Street which was very busy. I’m not sure how many stallholders Mr Dearling has spoken to, but feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive and, indeed, a number of stallholders have already made enquiries for next year.
Trying to compete with out-of-town retail parks and the continuing rise of internet shopping is a challenge facing town centres the length and breadth of the country. The truth is that without innovation, experimentation and boldness our town centre faces the real danger of becoming nothing more than an empty shell.
Discover King’s Lynn has never claimed to have all the answers and not everything we do will always work, but we are determined to face the challenge and do our best for our brilliant and beautiful town.