DORCHESTER markets are continuing to show a fall in income.

The year-end figure for 2018/19 has been reduced from a predicted net income of £170,000 to £140,400.

It will mean West Dorset District Council taking a profit of £78,300 and Dorchester town council £42,160 – with just under £20,000 for distribution to community groups from the Sunday car boot sales.

Figures from the weekly Wednesday stall market have shown a steady decline in recent years – with gross fees from tolls dropping from £200,000 in 2015/16 to £172,000 in 2016/17 and £147,770 for 2017/18.

Figures for the current year have not been finalised but are expected to follow the downward trend – although a report to the joins markets committee this Wednesday (Feb13) says that expenditure is also down.

A report by market operators, Ensors, will tell councillors that trading conditions have not been good and that conditions in the run up to Christmas was affected by bad weather on most market days, reducing numbers.

The company is also asking the joint markets committee to share its costs for aborted proposals for improvements to the market.

Brendon George, for the company, tells councillors in his report: “Ensors & Son Ltd were rather disappointed with the decision not to take up the proposed improvements to the Market which are desperately needed. We spent five years on plans and negotiations with various different officers, only to be let down at the final hurdle. In total Ensors & Son Ltd have spent over £20,000 on professional and planning fees which has now come to nothing. We therefore feel that it is only fair that the council split these costs with us and make a refund to us for £10,000 accordingly.”

The committee also administers the market in South Street during the week, the Sunday car boot sales and farmers’ markets usually held once a month in South Street on a Saturday. It is also responsible for occasional markets when they occur.