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Can Newbury's Charter market thrive again?

Traders divided over whether single Market Place site would revive footfall

Charlotte Booth

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Charlotte Booth

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Can Newbury's Charter market thrive again

WOULD moving all stalls into one location help revive Newbury’s historic market?

A market has been held in the town since a Royal Charter was granted in 1596, but for the past 10 years its future has been in question.

At present, it is spread over two locations, in Northbrook Street and the Market Place, which some feel makes it disjointed.

The town council is keen to move all the stalls back into the Market Place.

However, a number of traders in Northbrook Street are against the idea and have hinted they will up and leave if they are made to do so.

One trader, Kathy Osbourne from Shedkraft, said: “A lot of people think if we moved there, then people would go there.

“I don’t think that is the case. 

“The stalls there don’t make the best of what they’ve got and the tarpaulins are dirty and unappealing. Customers can’t see what is on the stalls.

“I think they should put street food stalls in Market Place as the area is all pubs and restaurants.

“I don’t think moving us around there would do any good.”

She added: “Newbury Market is one of the better markets in the area.

“Market stalls in Northbrook Street are an asset to the street and make it more interesting.”

Trader Karen Sinclair, from Buttonfeltcrafts, added: “I was in the Market Place for three months.

“It wouldn’t be worthwhile me moving there again, especially on a Saturday.

“There just isn’t the footfall.”

“Once the council move the car park and close the coach park in the Wharf there will be less people going through the Market Place.”

However, Newbury Town Council leader Adrian Edwards told the NWN: “This is why it looks like the market is in decline.

“We are trying to get them all back to Market Place.

“If they come into the Market Place they would have a lot more room and would be visible from the Kennet Shopping centre and the bridge.

“If there was a stall near the entrance to the Wharf, this would get a lot of trade, as lots of people access the town from the Wharf.”

A recent poll on NewburyToday, which asked what would most improve Newbury Market, seems to back up his claim.

A total of 29 per cent of the 413 respondents said they thought moving stalls into the Market Place was a good idea.

Only eight per cent believed that moving all the stalls into Northbrook Street would work.

In total, 24 per cent of people thought that more unique stalls would help, while 22 per cent said cheaper parking would improve footfall.

Dudders posted on the Newbury Today website: “I feel that the market is too spread out. Bring all the stalls together in Market Place. 

“This would add to the atmosphere and spectacle.

“At the moment the market has no atmosphere or character.

“It feels like the end of a car boot sale when all the main dealers have gone and there are just a few stragglers left.

“More stalls and a crowded market are needed.” 

Jonathan Greenwood added: “Move all the stalls back into the Market Place – the name’s a giveaway. It’s a mess with bits in Northbrook Street too.”

The traders told the Newbury Weekly News they feel there is a division, with ‘artisans’ stalls being located on Northbrook Street and general food stalls in Market Place.

Attempts have been made to join the two markets with signs on market days encouraging shoppers to go #over thebridge.

In recent months there has been an increase in enquiries regarding street food stalls in the Market Place and new arrivals include John the Greek, a Biltong stall, a bakery from Wantage and an Indian street food stall.

All food stalls are encouraged to bring tables and chairs to encourage customers to eat in the Market Place.

Newbury Town Council community services officer Caroline Edmunds said: “We are trying to build up theMarket Place. With the restaurants and pubs, Market Place is a food place.

“Last year we introduced Music in the Market Place, with school bands, a local Elvis and face-painting for children three times.

“I suspect we will do something similar this year as it was very successful.” 

For more see this week's Newbury Weekly News

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Article comments

  • Mike Hogan

    23/03/2018 - 10:10

    Bring back the traffic and make Newbury town centre more bustling and welcoming. The Market should all be in the Market Place where it was originally intended. Caroline Edmunds says it is a place for food. Rubbish! The place is full of pubs and restaurants already but is crying out for more activity. What have we done to Newbury?

    Reply

  • Browntrout

    22/03/2018 - 09:09

    Maybe the NWN should have asked the Traders what they would like to see the Council do to improve footfall. It was the obvious missing question?

    Reply

  • Racegoer

    22/03/2018 - 09:09

    The Market Place should be the hub of the town. It could be a 'continental' like place of market stalls and outside eating. Have different markets on different days - add an antiques day (Sunday??), food (3 days a week), and so on. There is more footfall in Northbrook Street due to the Parkway centre. Either let the Market Place and Kennet Centre die and grow Northbrook Street OR make a decision to grow the Market Place part of town by a combination of free parking on market days, moving all market stalls to the Market Place, more attractive market stalls, lower rates on shops around Market Place, etc.

    Reply

  • Basher

    21/03/2018 - 19:07

    put all the stalls in Northbrook St and leave the market square to the imagination (?) of WBC

    Reply

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