New markets are planned for Ramsbottom and Prestwich to attract visitors and benefit the local community.
With franchises coming to an end, Bury Council has announced plans to maintain and boost both farmers and vintage/speciality markets in both towns.
In Ramsbottom, the council will retender the farmers market franchise, which will continue to be held on the second Sunday of each month in Ramsbottom Civic Hall and the site of the ‘Urn’.
And, in response to suggestions from local businesses, the successful operator will also run a weekly Saturday farmer market on the site of the ‘Urn’, for a trial 12-month period.
The council is also looking to free up more parking for visitors to the town on the site of Union Street car park. Numbers at this market fluctuate throughout the year, with only a few traders in winter. With pressure on parking in Ramsbottom, it is proposed to reduce the footprint of this market, retaining the core traders but creating more parking spaces.
This move will form part of a wider review of parking in Ramsbottom centre, which will start soon and be subject to widespread public consultation.
Councillor Luise Fitzwalter said: “A 12-month trial of a regular farmers market on the urn area provides an opportunity to build on the very successful existing monthly farmers market that takes place on the second Sunday of the month.
“Given the current occupancy levels of the regular Saturday market on Union Street, it makes sense to free up much needed additional parking provision, and look at the wider issue of parking in Ramsbottom centre.
“This is exciting news, and we all hope that these initiatives will cement Ramsbottom’s reputation even further as a top destination for food lovers and tourists in general.”
In Prestwich, there will be a new tender awarded for a monthly farmers market, to run in the Longfield Suite and possibly into the precinct.
Manchester Vintage will continue to operate the current successful vintage/speciality market in Ramsbottom, although, by agreement, will cease to do so in Prestwich.
Craft markets will continue in Prestwich through Village Haul, as part of the council’s programme of supported market events (which includes the likes of Prestwich Clough Day and Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival).
The council will actively publicise this programme, inviting applications for non-commercial market events which will complement existing markets and benefit the wider local community.
Cllr Jane Black, chair of Prestwich Township Forum, said: “The proposal to tender for a regular farmers/craft market in the Longfield Suite, in tandem with widening the council’s programme of community events with Village Haul and others, will ensure that Prestwich has a regular series of high quality market events. The lack of events put on by the franchisee to date has been disappointing but a tender process will beput in place and will be widely advertised to ensure that all interested parties have an opportunity to tender.”
Finally, the council is also in talks with operators to run weekly speciality events in the new Radcliffe Market Hall, and potentially in the space outside the hall.
The tenders will be advertised widely, in the local media, trade publications and online, and the council hopes to award the franchises in late summer.
Press release issued: 18 June 2015.