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West Northamptonshire Council to fund market move

Traders will not be charged pitch fees during their two-year relocation to Commercial Street car park in Northampton while Market Square undergoes its planned transformation.

As we enter Love Your Local Market, running from today (13 May) to 5 June, we’re encouraging people to head to Market Square and discover great produce and services like fresh fruit and veg, beautiful flowers, clothing and key cutting.

Market Square redevelopment

Work on Market Square is due to start by this winter and will include resurfacing, a major new water feature, additional trees, new public seating, redesigned market stalls and a new lighting scheme.

The relocation is necessary as construction work, additional traffic, noise, dust and disturbance make it impractical to keep the market on the square during the redevelopment. It would cause significant implications on the phasing of work, adding more than £800k to the project cost and delaying completion.

Once the work is complete, there will be scope for Market Square to be used for a variety of events as well as being a catalyst in attracting new businesses and opportunities to the town. We’ve just asked what people would like to see there, and results of that survey will be made public soon.

The relocation

A number of potential options for moving the market were considered, including a variety of locations in Abington Street, Wood Hill, the Grosvenor Shopping centre.

Commercial Street was the only option which allowed the entire market to remain together as splitting it up would have resulted in lower footfall to the separate sites, which we believe may have impacted on the long-term sustainability of the market.

“Council colleagues have been meeting with the traders at least once a week since the beginning of the year, and prior to that we met with them monthly, to look at alternative sites, so we know this is not the solution they would have preferred.

“Nevertheless, we honestly believe that there is an opportunity for traders in temporarily moving to a new location which offers high visibility and should bring their wares to the attention of a much wider audience.

“Of course, we know that the traders have many loyal customers, and we hope those customers will continue to support the market once it moves. In fact, we’re looking at a number of ways we might be able to help on that front.

“We’ll be working with traders to ensure we have a comprehensive marketing plan around the new location, and we’re working with bus service providers to locate a stop close by.

“The whole purpose of moving the market is so we can improve the square, delivering a much better experience for visitors to our town centre, and that includes a much better market for both visitors and for the traders themselves.”
Cllr Jonathan Nunn, Leader of West Northamptonshire Council

We will continue to help promote the market in the lead-up to its move to Commercial Street this autumn or winter.

The size of the market has diminished over the years and it now costs taxpayers £180k per year to run, rather than turning a profit. The Market Square redevelopment is an opportunity to also build a market that attracts a much wider audience.

Traders will be moved to Commercial Street during the coming autumn or winter so work can begin on development of a new-look Market Square.

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