New events planned to help revive market

A COUNCIL is working on a series of plans to revive a dwindling town market.

Members of Kettering Council have agreed to continue to manage their street market in-house, but they also decided to arrange a regular programme of events and speciality markets to try and help boost trade and increase the number of stallholders.

The council took over management of the market after previous operator Hughmark Continental Ltd pulled out in August last year.

Councillors will now give officers the task of drumming up ideas to help boost the market.

Cllr Steve Bellamy, who is on Kettering Council’s executive committee, said members were keen to see improvement.

He said: “We are looking at some very exciting things for the market in the future and hopefully we can get them up and running quickly.

“Ideas could include farmers’ markets and a cultural and entertainment festival.

“Officers will now look to get together some ideas.

“A big part of the town is pedestrianised now and I think that this lends itself to having a vibrant market more than other towns do.

“We have got to utilise the town layout we’ve got.”

A few years ago, the market had 22 stalls, but it now only has about 10 regular stalls on a Friday.

On Saturday, there are about nine regular and two casual stalls, and seven for the flea market on a Wednesday.

In November, the council also took the decision to slash stall prices in a bid to attract more traders, and they introduced a less complex price scheme.

Cllr Maggie Don, who represents the St Michaels and Wicksteed wards of the town, spoke about the town centre market at the meeting.

She said: “The town’s market is a little bit pathetic at the moment.

“The stall numbers have been dwindling for some time, which is a concern.

“We need more variety.

“You look at local markets like Leicester and they are doing well and that’s because they have a wide range of stalls.”

Cllr Bellamy said the council will look to announce its plans for the market in the coming months.