Shrewsbury’s Market Hall is a shining example to authorities up and down the country, a traders’ federation has proclaimed.
The premises, which is home to a mix of stalls, is currently full to capacity, with a waiting list of more than 30 traders keen to snap up a pitch.
Yesterday, Wednesday, the chief executive of the National Market Traders Federation, Joe Harrison, paid a visit the Market Hall to learn more about its success and feature the premises in the federation magazine Market Times.
In a speech Mr Harrison hailed the market as having a great atmosphere and said it is an example to other markets throughout the country.
He also said he would be recommending that other market managers come and visit the Market Hall to see what has been done to make it successful.
Councillor David Farmer, Shrewsbury Town Council’s portfolio holder for markets and immediate past president of The National Association of British Market Authorities, said it was a ‘feather in the cap’ for the town.
“It’s very rare at present to have any market that’s got a waiting list for stall holders,” he said.
“I travel around the country attending retail market meetings and the general consensus is that markets are struggling.
“So far Shrewsbury is able to stand up and say we’ve got green shoots in our market – and a waiting list for weekdays and Saturdays.
“It’s a vibrant market for the first time for many years and I fly the flag for Shrewsbury and point out wherever I go that Shrewbsury is a gem at the moment with a market with a waiting list for stalls.”
Kate Gittins, site facilities manager at the Market Hall, said: “We have a waiting list of about 30 people and I am getting enquiries almost daily.”
She added she was keen to invite leading retail marketing consultant and TV star Mary Portas to the premises.
The TV retail guru is busy carrying out a government-backed review aimed at looking at the problem of empty shops and how to prevent the growth of ‘clone towns’ dominated by chainstores.
And Mike Cox, outdoor recreation and assets manager for the Town Council, which manages the canopied section of the market, said there had been an increased income of five per cent on last year.
He added that the vintage flea market introduced in May had been a huge success, with the last one bringing in an extra 3,000 people.
by Charlotte Hester