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Wellingborough's market could be on the move

Published Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Wellingborough Market could be moved further into the town centre as part of plans to attract more customers.

The council met with traders last month and discussed a range of ideas to develop the market, and is now recommending that stalls be moved down onto Market Street and Orient Way for a four month trial period.

Wellingborough's long tradition as a market town dates back to the granting of its market charter in 1201. In recent years the facility has been declining and often has less than half of its 87 stalls occupied. An independent review of the market, undertaken at the end of last year by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA), showed that although the market's location is very central, and close to local amenities such as the library, public toilets and free car parks, people were not turning off the main thoroughfare of Burystead Place and Market Street to visit it.

The review also advised that the market should be better publicised, and that more work could be done to improve the variety of goods on offer. The council discussed the review with traders and came up with six recommendations, which will be formally considered by the council's development committee next week.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Tim Allebone, said: "We have a proud history as a market town. Even though markets all over the country are struggling, we believe we can do more to make ours more vibrant and successful than it is at the moment. The NABMA review confirmed that the market in its current position is not easily visible, and suggested it needed to be addressed as a priority. We met with the traders and they expressed a desire to relocate the majority of the stalls down into the main part of the town centre. We are happy to give this a go and are recommending to the committee that we try the move for a few months, starting as soon as it's feasible.

"We have lots more planned, such as ways to attract new traders and a wider variety of traders, but the main thing we want to achieve initially is to help people realise that the market is there and that there's already a lot on offer. The market is an integral part of our town and we want to protect it. Reviving it will not happen overnight, but the recommendations and plans we have in place are a positive start."
The council's development committee will meet at 7pm on Tuesday 19 March to discuss the plans for Wellingborough Market.