Future secured for town centre market

The future of Bromsgrove town centre market is to be secured after Cllr Karen May, Deputy Leader of the District Council and holder of the portfolio for town centre development, announced a plan yesterday to bring management of the market in-house. The decision came after discussion with the market traders, town centre businesses, and a rigorous examination of possibilities to get the best option for the market.

The future of the market had been thrown into uncertainty after the external operator, C J Events Warwickshire, announced that it would end its contract in June.

Cllr May leapt into action and began dialogue with the market traders and local businesses about what they wanted to see from the market and ordered options appraisals from the Council to discover the best long-term option for the market’s future. Following extensive discussions at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting which took place prior to the Cabinet meeting the recommendation which came forward to Cabinet was that the Bromsgrove town centre outdoor market is brought back in house and that the Council is to explore the possibility of a partnership between the Council and market traders.

Cllr May said: “We are a market town. We first had a market charter in the year 1200. It is a key part of our local identity.”

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent huge amounts of time in discussions with the market traders and the owners of businesses in the High Street. We were all clear on one thing: whatever else happened, we wanted our market kept vibrant and sustainable, three days a week in the town centre. This is an opportunity for us to make the market even better if we choose to take it.”

“The market is not a political football. When we knew that the contract with C J Events was ending, it was our duty to look at all options to see what the best thing was for the market. I know some people wanted it brought in-house immediately, but we were not going to do that until we knew, absolutely, that we had the in-house expertise not just to run the market but to take it from strength to strength, not just for the next few years but ten, twenty years into the future.”

Council Leader Geoff Denaro said: “The residents of Bromsgrove can rest assured that the market will have whatever support it needs.”

The manager at Centre Flowers, which runs a shopfront and a market stall, said “Whatever else, the market has got to stay: it brings people to the town. We’d be lost without it.”

Lorita Cornish, of Decanter Spirit, said “Bromsgrove market is a good thing but it could be so much better, it could go from strength to strength. This is an opportunity for more specialised events, promoting Bromsgrove outside Bromsgrove, brining specialist appeal to the market. The farmers market was a success – we could do more like that.”