A package of measures are being introduced to breath new life into Stoke-On-Trent's markets.
Traders at the city’s eight indoor and outdoor markets will receive a range of benefits in a move aimed at helping them survive and thrive, and make town centres more attractive places to visit.
One of the key initiatives will see 18 to 25 year olds receive a 75 per cent discount in rent for up to 16 weeks, to help budding entrepreneurs get their ideas and business off the ground. This would mean they could rent a single stall in Hanley Indoor Market for just £34 per week.
Other initiatives being brought in from January 1, 2018, include:
• A 10 per cent reduction in rent at all markets for current traders for a two-year period;
• A 50 per cent rent discount for all new traders for up to 16 weeks;
• A market training and support programme, worth £26,000 in the first 12 months, with funded guidance and access to training on retail presentation, sales and customer service and social media presence;
• A consultation with traders on opening hours, to ensure the markets meet shopping habits in the 21st century;
• A ‘loyalty bonus’ to market traders, which will see a selection of discounts against council services such as gym memberships.
The initiatives will apply to indoor markets at Hanley, Longton, Tunstall and Stoke, and outdoor markets at Hanley, Fenton, Bentilee and Hanley (Sunday).
Last month the city council announced it is investing £1.5 million into Hanley Indoor Market, the biggest single investment since the facility opened nearly 30 years ago. Designs are currently being drawn-up for the scheme, which could include a striking entrance to raise the profile of the market and the zoning of stalls to create destination areas.
Around £70,000 has been spent on improvements to Longton Market, while Tunstall Market recently celebrated its 200th birthday. And planned multi-million pound refurbishment works to Tunstall Town Hall and Longton Town Hall will also drive footfall into the towns and markets.