Councillor Jane Chitty, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, said:
“Last year, the Council commissioned a wide ranging independent review into the viability of all of Medway’s Markets, to help inform the Council and enable us to develop sustainable future plans for market provision in Medway. This included ways to support the Markets, and protect the benefits our towns receive from this local offer.
The outcomes and recommendations of this review were carefully considered by officers, myself and the Leader of the Council. As a result, we have taken the difficult decision not to re-open Strood Market following the resumption of normal trading as the Coronavirus lockdown eases.
The independent report found that ‘on a purely commercial basis Strood Market is not viable or Sustainable’, largely due to the fact that only 2 traders were still attending prior to lockdown, with no indication of any future support being likely from other traders. Therefore sadly Strood Market was making a continuous and significant loss for the Council. The report recommended that ‘the Council close Strood Town Centre Market, given the significant loss-making position it is in and faces going forward’. I therefore believe that to have continued subsidising trading would have been an unsustainable and unwise use of public funds, and that in taking this decision we have done the right and responsible thing in the interests of the public.
I am grateful to the traders of Strood Market for their understanding of the decision and the rationale behind it. We ensured that they were advised at the earliest possible stage of this decision, and I am also pleased to say that they have both been offered alternative slots to continue trading at Gillingham Market.”