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Record turnout for Newbury Artisan Market's first event in over a year

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The relaxation of lockdown restrictions is creating a boom for Newbury commerce, with the high street registering record turnout last weekend.

On Sunday, the Newbury Artisan Market returned after more than a year of absence.

Organisers reported this to have been the busiest Sunday on the town centre since March 8, 2020.

Newbury Artisan Market last Sunday.
Newbury Artisan Market last Sunday.

The market, staged on the last Sunday of every month, was cancelled after the announcement of the UK's first lockdown last year.

This cancellation was extended indefinitely, until organisers recently announced that, with the lifting of restrictions, it was safe and feasible to stage the event once again.

Raj Magar and Gururaj Gayan from Namaste Kitchen.
Raj Magar and Gururaj Gayan from Namaste Kitchen.

The market brings together a variety of food and clothing stalls, as well as other specialist retailers.

The revived edition was organised by Newbury Business Improvement District (BID), now joined by partner LSD Promotions.

Well before closure at 4pm, many stalls were reported to have already sold out their stock.

Newbury Artisan Market.
Newbury Artisan Market.

A popular Austrian meatball stand, for instance, closed at 2pm.

More than 15,000 visitors flocked to the town centre on Sunday and footfall was up 16.2 per cent on the previous Sunday.

Newbury BID operations manager Alison Drummond said: "We were delighted to see such significant footfall in Newbury town centre as a result of our Artisan Market returning.

Debs Smith from Victoria and Isaac.
Debs Smith from Victoria and Isaac.

"We're confident our upcoming markets on the last Sunday of every month will increasingly benefit Newbury town centre, as we're experiencing an influx of interest from traders all the time."

The market was well-received by retailers as well as consumers.

Among the sellers present on the day was Judy Hicks, who manages Burghclere-based business Hampshire Gluten Free.

Mrs Hicks said: "It was fantastic to be back in Newbury after what feels like a very long time.

"The weather was on-side and people generally just seemed happy to be back taking advantage of all the local produce on offer."

The next Artisan Markets are planned for June 27 and July 25.

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