New farmers’ market layout proves a success

THE future’s looking brighter for a town’s monthly Saturday farmers’ market following a revamp to help bolster visitor numbers.

The layout of the Diss Farmers’ Market has changed so stalls form a circle around a central space where people can meet to have a chat over a cup of coffee and enjoy free range rare breed pork off a barbecue.

More live music and hot food is also being provided to attract more people.

The town’s deputy mayor, Graham Minshull, has also said he would support a freeze on rental rates the stallholders were paying to the town council when the council debates the annual rent soon.

He said: “It is one of the things we need to promote and it is not going to cost the town council a great deal of money so there is no reason to push the rents up for market traders.

“Let’s keep the rents down and try to attract more people into the town.”

A number of market traders are supporting the campaign, including Karen Nethercott, who runs the Samphire stall selling rare breed free range pork.

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She said one or two traders had left recently, prompting concerns about the market’s future so the stalls layout was changed, starting on Saturday when the existing stallholders were joined by five new traders.

And Mrs Nethercott expected the momentum to continue at next month’s market when more stalls are expected to open, bringing the number of traders to 15 – three times the number at January’s market.

She said she had contacted a number of the new stallholders, while social networking website Twitter was also used to try and attract new traders. As well as showing off the new look layout, Saturday’s market also had a Valentine theme.

Mrs Nethercott said: “I think we need to offer new things and make it a social event and hopefully we have tried to address that. It got a bit jaded and did not give the impression of a vibrant market which is what we are trying to do with the new layout.”