WINCHESTER councillors have asked for an economic assessment of the High Street market.

An overview and scrutiny committee told officers to prepare a report into the market after examining High Street footfall statistics that showed a drop of around 100,000 visitors this year compared to 2012.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday (July 1), Cllr Robert Sanders said: “Does the reduction in footfall mirror the introduction of the market? If you say that every visitor to the city is worth £20 each, that is a £2m drop in revenue for retailers.

“The former council leader George Beckett said he would move the market to The Broadway, which is where it should be. Members of my ward would support that. Before we make a commitment for another year of the market a report should come to this committee so we can scrutinise it.”

But Eloise Appleby, assistant director for economy and communities, said a previous survey showed visitors were happy with the market.

She said: “The response to the survey was overwhelmingly positive and it showed the sort of shoppers at the market stalls were not taking any business away from retailers and it was complimentary, not competitive.

“We are known as an exciting place to be and I think we have maintained good standards of performance even if it has not always been increasing performance. But I would be really interested in an economic impact report and we can provide that.”