Huntingdon market plans could see a return of the glory days

Fruit and veg stall at Huntingdon Market

Fruit and veg stall at Huntingdon Market - Credit: Archant

Plans to bring Huntingdon market back to its glory days have been given the go-ahead by district council members.

At a meeting of the authority’s cabinet on January 19, councillors voted through a proposal that will see traders re-locate to the centre of the High Street from its traditional home in Market Square.

Councillor Jim White, portfolio holder responsible for markets, said: “We are extremely pleased to endorse this proposal, which will provide a huge boost for the viability of the market itself and add considerably to the vibrancy of Huntingdon town centre as a whole.”

The revamp comes after an 18 month review to take action on the market as it was considered to be “in serious decline”, and had made a loss of more than £5,700 for 2015/16.

During the review the council appointed a markets officer and has tightened up management to the extent that the markets service is expected to make a surplus of more than £50,000 in the coming financial year.

In a report to cabinet it was put forward that traders of the town’s farmers markets will be consulted on a move that could see the fortnightly event merge with the weekly market.

“The fortnightly farmers market has been running at a loss for a number of years and this cannot be sustained,” the report by business development manager, Chris Jablonski stated.

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“Traders will be invited and actively encouraged to be become part the enhanced High Street market every Wednesday and Saturday.”

Proposals to revamp the market have been developed in partnership with BID Huntingdon, Huntingdon Town Council, as well as Cambridgeshire County Council, town’s retailers and emergency services.

Now the plan has been given the go-ahead, a public consulation will be held by Cambridgeshire County Council, as Highways Authority, enable a permanent closure of the High Street on Market days.

Later this year a review of the market in St Ives will also be carried out which could see the Monday market move to remove the need for road closures and re-introduce some parking on Market Hill for blue badge holders.

The report added: “Before being confirmed a full consultation will be carried with market traders and retailers in St Ives and the proposals brought back to members for consideration.”