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Community support hailed after return of market to Clare for first time in 20 years

PUBLISHED: 07:33 20 August 2017

A market has returned to the town of Clare in Suffolk for the first time in 20 years.
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

A market has returned to the town of Clare in Suffolk for the first time in 20 years. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Richard Marsham - RMG Photography Tel - 07798 758711

Bosses behind the return of a market to Clare for the first time in 20 years have said they are buoyed by the response from the town – as some traders even sold out of produce.

A market has returned to the town of Clare in Suffolk for the first time in 20 years.
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAMA market has returned to the town of Clare in Suffolk for the first time in 20 years. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

A town council consultation was held in March to gather opinions for a return of the market, with an overwhelmingly positive response.

Since then, market bosses have been working to bring traders together, culminating in Clare’s first market for two decades yesterday.

“It’s gone really well, and it was very, very busy this morning,” said Sharon Fairweather, market development officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

Fresh fruit and vegetables were among stalls at the new Clare market. 
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAMFresh fruit and vegetables were among stalls at the new Clare market. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

“A lot of traders have sold out so it’s been a bit of a learning curve for the traders.

“We learnt a lot today so we think the second market will be bigger and better.”

Crucially, market organisers listed to feedback from the residents over what kind of stalls they would like to see, and have promised to include different traders alongside favourites to encourage variety and tempt people back.

A market has returned to the town of Clare in Suffolk for the first time in 20 years.
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAMA market has returned to the town of Clare in Suffolk for the first time in 20 years. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

Ms Fairweather said: “We have a good selection, and a selection of stalls that the public had asked to see such as cheeses, breads and fruit and veg.”

The market is being held on the third Saturday of every month, with organisers hoping to establish it as a mainstay on the town’s calendar once again.

Following yesterday’s first market, bosses say the feedback from traders has been good.

Clare market bosses said the response from both traders and customers has been good.
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAMClare market bosses said the response from both traders and customers has been good. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

The market’s return comes after traders at Bury St Edmunds’s market said they were feeling the pinch more, with the cost of town centre parking and premium rate rents among some of the reasons why trading was tougher.

But Ms Fairweather said it was important to promote the market’s community ethos to bring people in, largely due to competition from online shopping or out of town retail parks. She said: “Retail is struggling because there are so many different options, so you have got to give people a reason to come into town.

“We want people to come in and experience the whole of the town – having a meal at the pub, getting a coffee from the coffee shop.

Other stalls will be on offer for the next market to encourage shoppers to return. 
Picture: RICHARD MARSHAMOther stalls will be on offer for the next market to encourage shoppers to return. Picture: RICHARD MARSHAM

“It gets everybody out and about – it’s not just a shopping experience where you don’t see anybody – it’s a real community experience of people talking to each other and supporting locals.”

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