Markets could be Sunday best

MORE shops in St Ives could open on Sundays when the town s art market returns in the summer. Town centre manager Alistair Theobald is hoping Huntingdonshire District Council will soon issue the licences necessary for the market to set up in Bridge Street

MORE shops in St Ives could open on Sundays when the town's art market returns in the summer.

Town centre manager Alistair Theobald is hoping Huntingdonshire District Council will soon issue the licences necessary for the market to set up in Bridge Street, the favoured location for future markets.

And traders - including stationer WH Smith, which expects to open its Crown Street shop in the spring - hope the venture will attract customers from the Cambridge area ahead of the arrival of guided bus services in a year's time.

"There's definitely an opportunity there, but there's also a threat if we're not ready when it starts," Mr Theobald said.


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Following five successful Sunday events last summer - without a single complaint in spite of some residents' reservations about access to their homes - the art market is entering a new trial phase, he said.

"We showed that the best location is Bridge Street, and it could provide a springboard for businesses who want to open on Sundays.

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"If it's successful in drawing people in, local businesses will have the chance to look at the viability of Sunday trading."

The impending arrival of the national stationery chain would be a boon to a town characterised by small independent traders, he said.

"We have a very strong image with a wide range of independent private businesses, so there's no risk that St Ives would become a High Street clone.

"It's good for us to have the extra profile of a High Street name, and we welcome them."

WH Smith has not yet identified an opening day, but a spokesman said the target was the coming spring after the fitting out work is finished.

"St Ives is a lovely market town that we have been interested in for a while," a spokesman said. "We have found a prime location.

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