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Proposed improvements aim to boost market’s fortunes

Trading incentives, relocating stalls, and introducing cashless payment are amongst the ideas for Newcastle's market.

The Borough Council is looking at a programme of improvements, to attract new traders and shoppers.

It follows meetings between National Association of British Market Authorities and stall holders earlier this year.

There is a currently a council-run market four days a week, while an external licensee manages a market for a further two days.

The authority says it is taking action as the market faces the same difficulties as other retail outlets across the country as a result of significant changes in shopping habits and preferences, including a general move away from the traditional High Street.

Other possible measures it is looking at include removing the visual impact of empty stalls, introducing events, updating market regulations and providing access to training such as social media. 

Council officials have been meeting with traders, and say they will work with all involved to carry out agreed improvements in a sensitive way.

Cllr. Stephen Sweeney, Cabinet member for finance and efficiency, said: “Newcastle-under-Lyme has been built around a bustling market for almost 850 years.

"The market is an integral part of the town centre’s identity but if it doesn’t evolve there’s a serious risk of it falling into a long-term decline which would have a detrimental effect on the town centre as a shopping destination and damage its economic performance.

“The Council has experienced officers who have already put a significant amount of time and effort into preparing an improvement plan which features a range of ambitious measures designed to deliver a stronger, attractive and sustainable market for the future. The visit by NABMA, and consultation responses, have really helped us to refine the plan even further so that we’re in the best possible position to deliver our ambitions.

“Diminishing patronage is an issue for traders across the country but there are many instances where markets have been turned around by doing things differently. As the Council prepares to support Newcastle town centre through its latest challenges through the Healthy High Street plan, it is timely to consider the role of the market in that regeneration.”

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