Padiham Case Study
- The east Lancashire town of Padiham is set in and around the River Calder valley. The busy A671 forms the main street Burnley Road and Church Street - which leads up the hill from the river for nearly ½ mile.
- The town is within the administrative area of Burnley Borough Council whose centre is some 4 miles to the south. Prior to 1974 Padiham had its own Urban District Council housed in Padiham Town Hall. The Town Hall currently provides office accommodation for Burnley Borough Council and community facilities for Padiham. A Town Council was created in 2002 and it is also based in the Town Hall.
Padiham: Town centre map and market location
- Burnley Road leading into Church Street forms the main shopping area of Padiham. It runs up the hill from the Town Hall and is doubly disadvantaged as a shopping area by its incline and by being a busy main road. There is a conservation area that includes parts of Church Street but overall the shopping area is characterised by derelict and empty retails units, short term occupancy and marginally viable businesses.
- Padiham market is located on a site on Clitheroe Street some 50 metres off Burnley Road and within sight of the Town Hall. The Market comprises an open air area of 48 stalls all are covered but without awnings. Market days are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the last is recognised as Padiham’s market day. The market has been in its current location for 25 years or so since it was created by Burnley Borough Council in the 1970s.
- Although located off the main street, there is easy access to the market. It is signed from Burnley Road and its bus stops, and there is a free car park adjacent to the market.
Padiham Market: View of stalls and Town Hall from car park
- The average number of traders standing at Padiham market is as follows:
Wednesday : 4
Thursday : 10/15 second hand goods only
Friday : 7/8
- The traders standing on April 24th 2004 were selling clothes/shoes, household items, fruit and vegetables, garden plants and fish - trading from a van and busy. Most goods were sourced through regular wholesalers. All traders regularly stood at Padiham and at other markets Clitheroe, Accrington in east Lancashire.
- Traders’ commented on the absence of any hot food stalls or a café considered to be an essential facility to draw customers to a market. There was similar concern on the absence of toilets - the nearest being up the hill on Church Street or in Padiham Town Hall on the other side of Burnley Road. All traders complained about the design of the stalls. Too high and without awnings, thus in wet weather both the stock and customers get wet. Some stallholders had improvised awnings between the stalls.
- Most felt that signage to the market located off Clitheroe Street at the bottom end of the town could be improved. Our observations were that the market was clearly signed from Burnley Road.
- All traders stated that sales at the Friday market are low and falling. At least one trader said that she would cease to stand at Padiham if things did not improve. Most traders blamed:
1. Competition from discount stores for clothing, footwear and household goods.
2. Competition from supermarkets on food, plants and so forth a mid sized Co op store is located within 50 yards of the market.
3. An older less well off customer base for markets.
Market: View of stalls and improvised awnings
Market Burnley Borough Council
- Burnley Borough Council owns and manages the market. On market days a council official is present to collect stall rents and liaise with the traders, providing the main point of contact between traders and the Council.
- Council officers commented on the competition faced by all Padiham traders market traders and shopkeepers from their counterparts in Burnley, Accrington and Blackburn. The market is small in terms of traders and the choice offered, its location could be a problem as it is tucked away behind buildings at the lower end of the town. There is strong competition from Burnley market but up until now no serious competition from car boot sales and Sunday markets as these are not permitted under the local Market Charter. The market could be improved with a different layout, a different mix of traders, and more specialist goods. The last might not have much potential given the older less well off profile of the typical Padiham market customer.
Market Shoppers’ survey
- Padiham is primarily a local market; over 60% of customers travelling less than 1 mile and over 90% less than 2 miles, 80% of those using the market do so at least once per month, the average spend per visit - at £2.90 is the lowest in any of the case study towns, but it is not viewed as a good market for local produce. It is not patronised by visitors.
- Comments garnered from the shoppers’ survey centred on 3 broad issues:
1. The small number of traders was of concern to over 60% of those questioned in the respondents’ view this made the market relatively unattractive with numbers of empty stalls and an insufficient range and choice of goods on sale.
- More variety in the goods for sale was mentioned by 35% of those questioned more variety would be more incentive to visit the market, particularly in the form of a farm stall or regular farmers’ market, the fish van is already a major attraction.
- Conditions on the market no protection from wind and rain were mentioned by 20%, many of whom commented that Padiham market should be covered.
Padiham and the market
- The Hill [Burnley Road/Church Street] is characterised by small shops and flats, and although shop occupancy has improved over the past 2 years there is still a number of vacant premises. Padiham’s main street is not attractive to shoppers there is a limited range of shops, it is a busy road, and is relatively close to Burnley and other towns in east Lancashire.
- Padiham Town Hall which dates from the era of Padiham Urban District Council pre 1974 includes a library and Burnley Borough Council offices. It is a listed building.
- A Town Council member commented that that shop lets are increasing and that the market could be an element in rebuilding Padiham’s identity. A possible relocation to the Town Hall car park was mooted, as were Christmas markets and better signage. The Town Council commented that the market could be an attraction and have a positive effect on footfall for the town and its retailers.
Padiham Healthcheck and Action Plan
- The Healthcheck18 highlighted difficulties facing the town centre Burnley Road/Church Road. It commented that the centre does not have a wide selection of quality retail outlets and that the retail mix of town needs to be widened to attract shoppers back to the town. The whole of the town centre was seen is unfriendly to pedestrians, and lacked a central point of focus and generally offered no incentive for passing traffic to stop and visit the town. It reported that the market had been strongly criticised by local people as scruffy, unsightly and lacking in inspiration.
- Padiham’s opportunities were also identified, they included;
1. The town’s heritage and traditional landscape.
2. The potential for increased visitor and tourist related development.
3. Gawthorpe Hall and local countryside potential for dual visits.
4. Padiham Market.
5. The untapped potential of the river frontage.
6. The scope for service based uses in the town’s many fine buildings.
7. Padiham Linear Park Project.
8. Padiham Canoe Slalom and Salmon weir project.
9. GEMS Tourist information potential (new TIC for Padiham).
10. Project Padiham.
11. National Trust.
- The Action Plan proposed a retail/market feasibility study to inform any regeneration within the town centre, particularly where the market is concerned.19 A proven need for the market would have to be established and it was the belief of Padiham Life Padiham’s Market Towns Initiative organisation - that the market after re development would be a potential pull for the town and will offer a unique opportunity for the sale of locally grown produce.
- Padiham market is relatively small and in decline. It is used mainly by small but loyal group of local shoppers. The number of traders standing on the Friday market day are barely above the level needed to keep the market viable.
- Competition from other retailers and markets, a reliance on the older less well off customers and the market environment are all factors which contribute to the fragility of trade.
- Whilst there are long standing issues surrounding the future of Padiham’s retail businesses on the Hill, the market has at present little or no role to play in their future by contributing to footfall and business. The market could contribute to Padiham’s regeneration, in its current location or from a different site.
Market Town Report Links.
You can download the Countryside Agency Market Town Report complete in Adobe Acrobat PDF Format 6.7MB.
(Right click on the link and choose 'save target as' from the menu)