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Colchester Market move agreed

Plans to move Colchester Market to a new permanent location have been given the green light.

Date published: 12 March 2020

Plans to enhance Colchester Market by moving it to a new permanent location in Lion Walk have been given the green light.

Last night’s meeting of Colchester Borough Council’s Cabinet backed the move after hearing the results of a successful four-month trial of holding the market in Culver Street East.

The trial, which started last October, has seen more traders taking up market stalls – with occupancy rates more than doubling with up to 12 traders on Saturdays at Lion Walk, plus a further five on the High Street. Three of the five new traders in the High Street have now moved to stalls in Culver Street East and one is waiting to move.

Members also heard that one stall holder reported receiving around 80 customers a day since moving to Lion Walk compared to around 14 when they were in the High Street. Two thirds of regular stall traders at Lion Walk have seen their takings treble compared to what they made when they were based in the High Street. There are currently eight new traders waiting to start at Lion Walk in the spring and a further 20 are on the waiting list for a pitch. As a result, members agreed to seek to enter into an agreement with Lion Walk Property S.A.R.L, the company owning Lion Walk, to move the market permanently.

The move will also provide the potential for the market to expand with a year-round programme of themed events and special markets also being considered.

The trial was part of a package of measures introduced to seek to support the market last year. It also included:

  • allowing stall holders to use their own stalls providing they meet appropriate safety requirements.
  • reducing the Colchester High Street Market Pitch to £25 per pitch as standard
  • the introduction of an additional Market Day on Wednesdays 

A report on the changes has shown these have had a positive impact on the delivery of the market – including freeing up resource in the Council’s Neighbourhood Services team to deliver a Better Colchester.

Councillor Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “We have been looking for ways to breathe new life into the market and this partnership with Lion Walk gives us the chance to do just that.

“The hugely successful trial has shown there is a real benefit for everyone, especially stall holders and customers, in moving the market to Lion Walk on a permanent basis.

“We are delighted Lion Walk has been so supportive in working with us to develop a viable and sustainable alternative venue for the market which I hope will see it go from strength to strength in the future.”

Martin Leatherdale, Lion Walk Shopping Centre Manager, said: “We are over the moon that we have been able to support the market traders, Colchester Borough Council, and most importantly the people of Colchester.

“The market is a jewel in Colchester’s historic crown and one of many immersive experiences that will join Lion Walk over the coming months. It’s an amazing opportunity for traders, the council, and Lion Walk to collaborate - to nurture growth for the community - and I look forward to many more success stories ahead.”

The market will move to Lion Walk with immediate effect, however there will continue to be a market presence on the High Street on Fridays, as stall holders such as Young’s Fishmongers will not have a suitable permanent site at the new location until the work on the old Co-op building is complete. The popular street-food vendors will also remain on the High Street initially.

The changes will also provide High Street businesses with access to more loading on Fridays, which were previously occupied by stall holders.

Stalls in the Culver Street East location will feature artisan crafts such as jewellery, florists, cakes and fashion.

The annual Colchester Christmas Market will remain on the High Street and is scheduled to take place on Sunday 6 December this year.

Anyone interested in becoming a stall holder at Colchester Market should email markets@colchester.gov.uk

Anyone else wanting to find out more about Colchester Market, visit www.colchester.gov.uk/markets, like its Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ColchMarket or follow its Twitter and Instagram accounts: @colchmarket

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