Wellingborough Market is getting a makeover this week, as work takes place to improve the layout and create a dedicated events space.
Ten of the 101 stalls will be removed from the north west corner of the market place, near the churchyard, which will create a central area to be used for town centre promotions and events.
Alongside that, a further seven stalls will be removed from the back of the QD building, which has suffered in the past with antisocial behaviour. It’s hoped that by removing the hidden areas created by these specific stalls, the issue will be reduced.
Stephen Dunkley from Wellingborough Norse, the company that looks after the market on behalf of the borough council, said: "Removing these stalls should make a real difference to the look and feel of Wellingborough Market.
"We have a large number of stalls but, like many markets throughout the country, we don’t fill them all. Having a number of empty, spread-out stalls can make the whole market look uninviting.
"By removing a few, specific stalls we can create a dedicated space that can be used for events and hopefully attract more people up to the market place, where they can discover more of what’s on offer. It will also make the market look busier, which again should make it a more welcoming place both for shoppers and traders.
"We’ve also had a few problems with people hanging around the back of the market, where the stalls currently create some unseen areas. Removing these should help with this and open the market place up a bit more.
"The only reason for this work is to improve the layout and appearance of the market. We’re not reducing it or making it so there aren’t enough stalls to trade from. At the moment fewer than half of the 101 stalls are ever occupied and this new layout is simply another way we are trying to help it get a bit busier. Many markets are struggling but we will keep trying different things to help ours thrive."
The borough council and Wellingborough Norse have more than doubled promotion of the market over the past twelve months, including running competitions, putting up promotional banners, increasing advertising, and smartening up the stalls with new end boards. As part of the national Love Your Local Market campaign, stall fees were reduced, and the market also offers a three-month rent free incentive to under 25s who become permanent traders.
The market hosts the first Wellingborough Food Festival next month. More information about Wellingborough Market can be found at www.wellingborough.gov.uk/market