19:36 04 January 2018
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is investing on WiFi upgrade in the hopes to encourage more people to visit Longton Market or take up a stall. The council also considers the use of a tracker to monitor the number of people who use the market.
A city council report states: “Not having wi-fi is putting off some potential traders from taking stalls as some businesses rely on the internet and is a key part of their business. In addition, public wi-fi will encourage markets to be visited by younger people.”
The move is expected to prevent Longton market’s declining vacancy rate.
Longton stall-holder John Derbyshire said: “There has been talk about wi-fi with the traders but we haven’t been told a lot about a footfall tracker.
“The council has also told us about the reduction in rent, which is good. It is about trying to get more people to be stall-holders as well as getting more people to engage with the market. I suspect the wi-fi would benefit a few of the stallholders.”
Jane Kelsall, of Shoozies, added: “The footfall has dropped and you can tell that people are going to do their shopping online.
“Wi-fi won’t stop people from looking online but if you know you have a product cheaper than the big websites customers will be able to stand there and look. It will benefit stall holders as well because they will be able to keep up with the competition.”
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