Sudbury: Historic market is “bucking the trend”

Market stall-holder Darren Cox (centre) with helpers Chris Lammin and Joe Neill

Market stall-holder Darren Cox (centre) with helpers Chris Lammin and Joe Neill - Credit: Archant

A HISTORIC outdoor market is “bucking the trend” with profits of £40,000 forecast for the current financial year.

While other markets across the UK are feeling the financial pinch, Sudbury Town Council expects to generate an income of £78,000 from the weekly market - which is believed to have been running for more than 500 years. About 20 stall-holders - including one from Lowestoft and another from Harlow - turned out on Thursday to trade in below-freezing temperatures. Town clerk Sue Brotherwood said the flourishing enterprise was doing better than it had ever done.

But some of the long-standing traders would like to see the council reinvest more of the profits into the market.

According to Darren Cox, who has run a fruit and vegetable stall on Market Hill for more than 20 years, maintaining business through tough economic times has not been easy. He said: “Sudbury is bucking the trend in markets but we can’t afford to get complacent. We are the only remaining independent fruit and veg sellers in Sudbury now and we have to work hard to retain customers. We have to find ways to offer better quality produce than the multiples we are competing with. The cold weather also affects trade and we would like to remind people that we are here whatever the weather.”

Sharon Bird, who runs the Inspirations jewellery stall said the market was an important part of Sudbury’s economy, adding: “It’s partly what the town is famed for and when people come in to Sudbury especially for the market, they also visit other retailers so it helps boost the economy.

“I believe the council could reinvest some of the money by providing stall holders with cheaper rents. They could also advertise the market better with some banners or road signs.”

Mrs Brotherwood said the income generated from the market helped to reduce the town precept. She said: “Having a market is not just for market traders, but hopefully for the whole town. We have invested £30,000 in providing electricity for the market and we recently purchased a trailer to stop people parking on Market Hill during trading hours.”

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She said traders had been offered uniform stalls provided by the council, which they had declined. She added: “We are also in talks with Suffolk County Council about how we can revamp Market Hill. While we can keep the market trading at this level, it will help the whole town so we are constantly looking for ways to reinvest in it.”