Huntingdon’s market is poised to be transformed to compete with the likes of St Ives as part of a long-promised overhaul.
After a decline in the number of stall holders for both the Wednesday and Saturday markets, Huntingdonshire District Council, along with other town organisations, is set to take action to bring the market back to its former glory.
Councillor Robin Carter, executive councillor for environment, street scene and operations, said: “Huntingdon market has for some years been in decline, certainly by comparison to St Ives market, which is also run by the district council, and I would like to assure you that the council is determined to reverse this decline and ensure that the market thrives in years to come.”
As part of district council plans, the market could be relocated from its current location in Market Square to the High Street, “to capture the main footfall in the town”.
And if this initial move creates a busier market then it is likely that stalls will be allowed to link into Chequers Court and St Benedict’s Court.
According to Cllr Carter, the proposal is being developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders in the town, and “positive discussions” have already taken place with
Huntingdon Town Council, and BID Huntingdon, as well as Cambridgeshire County Council.
“An informal consultation has also taken place with 39 retailers who would be directly affected and only two of the retailers have not indicated their support for the proposal.”
If the plan is given the go-ahead the authority will then apply to the county council, as the highways authority, for an amendment to the traffic regulation order for the town, to enable a permanent closure of High Street on market days.
“The council recognises the importance of a regular local market, and we are committed to develop the market to ensure its continued success,” added Cllr
Despite the positive news, the council has insisted that it will not be supplying stalls for traders - unlike in St Ives - due to budgetary constraints - but the council has stated that a uniform design could be introduced for stalls.
Currently the council’s markets officer Keith Salmon is developing a proposal to do this which will be presented to members in December.
It is hoped that the overhaul of the market will be given a final sign off early next year.