Market’s expansion in Wickham Market is taken as an encouraging sign of village’s success

Wickham Market

Wickham Market

The expansion of a monthly market in east Suffolk has been taken as an encouraging sign that the village hosting it is recovering after a period of economic decline.

Wickham Market Town Team has been licensed to host a second market in the village each month after the existing one grew steadily in stalls and shoppers.

It now means there will be a small market on the first Wednesday of each month as well as the regular event held on the third Wednesday, which resumes on March 18 following its closure over winter.

The new “little market”, as it is being called, is expected to feature up to six stalls, selling predominantly meat, fish and vegetables. Its larger equivalent was regularly attended by up to a dozen stall-holders at the height of last year’s popularity.

Both will be held in The Hill, which is hoped to have its electricity supply restored in time for the first event on March 18, after an anonymous benefactor stepped in.

The market place had been left without power for some time, however a donation of more than £3,000 has seen it restored, which will allow market traders to power equipment, such as fridges and may also support entertainment and lighting.

Town Team chairman Colin Owens said the development was “very encouraging”.

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“It clearly seems the community is happy with the markets because it’s grown stronger and stronger over time,” he added.

“It’s also been of benefit to the stall-holders involved with it.”

Wickham Market’s district councillor Bryan Hall also welcomed the expansion of the market as being a positive sign for the village.

“It certainly seems that over the past year The Hill is slowly recovering its old vitality,” he said. “Hopefully we can look forward to a summer with quite a lot of the old attractions returning and some new one too.”

Mr Hall said the return of power for The Hill would be a “really great benefit” and reaffirmed his hopes that some of the prominent empty shops may soon be filled.

The Town Team has scheduled a meeting with the East of England Co-operative, whose former store in the village centre has remained closed since it relocated further along High Street.

The former Seagers unit on The Hill, which closed around the same time, is also rumoured to be subject to a possible revival.