A plan to improve and expand Wellingborough’s market could progress next week as councillors discuss introducing additional stalls in the centre of the town.
Wellingborough councillors agreed back in March to investigate moving some market stalls down onto Orient Place and Market Street, after an independent review by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) suggested the current location was too hidden.
It showed that shoppers were failing to turn off the town’s main thoroughfare to walk up to the market, and advised that a more visible location would boost numbers.
Permission has now been granted for three additional street pitches in Orient Place in the hope they will attract more shoppers and encourage them to visit the existing stalls.
An upcoming Christmas market, organised by Wellingborough’s Business Improvement District (BID) and running from November 30 to December 21, will be the first to use the new street pitches.
Stallholders at the Christmas market will trade from temporary pop-up sheds and if the new location is successful, the council will consider making the stall arrangement permanent.
Cllr Tim Allebone, chairman of the council’s development committee, said: “We are dedicated to improving our market in any way we can, and moving the stalls to a more central location is something that we’ve been considering for a while now.
“Relocating the whole market is big commitment so instead we’re looking into the possibility of expanding the market down onto Orient Place.
“This should help shoppers realise that the market is there and encourage them to explore what’s on offer.
“The BID’s Christmas market is an opportunity for people to see what an expanded market place would look and feel like.
“As well as encouraging shoppers to use the market more, we hope that it will attract more small businesses and a wider variety of traders to join our existing market.
“If the Christmas market shows that it’s successful to have stalls in that part of town, we can think carefully about whether it would work to permanently move some of own market stalls there.”
Wellingborough has a long tradition as a market town, dating back to the granting of its market charter in 1201.
At the moment there are general markets held on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and a bric-a-brac market held on a Tuesday.
Plans to improve the market, including the proposed expansion, will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s development committee on Tuesday, October 29.