Donington Park Sunday Market to close
It is with regret that the Board of Donington Park confirms that the Donington Sunday Market is to close after nearly 40 years of operation on the Donington estate. The final market was held here yesterday (Sunday 11th September 2016).
The long-running open air market was an initiative of the late Tom Wheatcroft after he took control of the Donington estate in the 1970s.
At its height, the Donington Sunday Market was one of the largest such venues in the East Midlands, but in recent years the major changes in shopping habits, on-line markets and the recent challenging financial climate have all meant a continual reduction in its size and viability.
Before Donington Park Racing Limited re-took control in 2015, the weekly number of traders and visitors had been reducing by around 30% every year. Donington’s stewardship had halted the slide somewhat, but even following a welcome reduction in rates by the Valuation Office, business has not returned to a level at which the business could continue to be viable, and market research and forward projections did not show that the situation is likely to change.
Donington Park Commercial Director Roger Lowe commented: “Naturally, it is disappointing to now have to confirm the closure of the Donington Sunday Market. It has a long history here, one that runs in parallel with the history of Donington’s racing and automotive businesses. The whole Park has undergone a major revival over the past 6 years under Kevin Wheatcroft’s ownership. The market has been in the past a core element of the overall site, and, in taking it on last year, we had hoped that we wouldn’t have to take such drastic measures, but unfortunately business has shown otherwise. Closure now is the only option at present; but we will keep the situation under review and see what the future possibilities may be.
“Naturally, this decision has no impact on any other part of the company’s business, which has enjoyed strong trading in all departments through 2016, with further diversifications alongside good increases in circuit attendance numbers.”