The hustle and bustle of Bideford Pannier Market has declined somewhat over the last few years.
An increasing number of supermarkets and changes in consumer habits has meant that the everyday staples such as bread, milk and veg are now collected in the weekly supermarket shop or delivered to your door.
Market days no longer echo with traders calling and rattling trollies of goods. However, the market is changing and adapting to become a vibrant retail centre in its own right.
The 30+ resident creators and makers have now made the market one of the South Westâ€™s principal creative hubs. One of the main attractions of the market hall studios and Butchers Row is that you can watch the makers at work.
To boost the offering further, Bideford Town Council are running a campaign to encourage more traders on market days Tuesdays and Saturdays.
They are offering a â€˜buy one get two freeâ€™ deal on a monthâ€™s trading. If you book in for a month every Tuesday and Saturday for just Â£34, youâ€™ll get the next two months FREE! So thatâ€™s 3 months of trading over the summer for just Â£34.
New development officer Chris Farris said: â€œWith Corona Virus, the last 18 months have been very challenging for everyone. It has definitely impacted the market days, but weâ€™re very lucky that our shops and studios have mostly held on.
â€œAs we begin to see the light at the end of a very long, stretchy tunnel, weâ€™re geared up to make the whole Pannier Market bustle again. This campaign is a great way for the Town Council to promote the market days. The Pannier Market is already a destination in its own right. Weâ€™re keen to take that to the next level once we get the green light with Corona Virus restrictions.â€
Chris added: â€œIâ€™ve regularly used the market over the last 20 years or so and have seen it slowly change in that time. I know that there is huge potential here so I leapt at the chance to be able to make a positive difference. I see the Pannier Market as the whole square. The market footprint includes the varied shops along the road in Market Place, Butchers Row which runs right through the centre and the huge Market Hall at the top.
â€œOf course, itâ€™s not just the building that is important here. Itâ€™s the traders who make the place. There really is a great community which is clear when you visit. People seem to have forgotten what an incredible resource we have and Iâ€™m keen to bring the Market Square back into peopleâ€™s consciousness.
â€œOne way we can do this is by either putting on or hosting events. Iâ€™d very much like to have a pop-up cinema when the nights begin to draw in a little. Weâ€™re primed to acquire a screening license for the Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society which was filmed all around the Market Square.
â€œOther options are food festivals, specialist markets such as antiques and of course drink festivals celebrating some of our exceptional local brewers and distillers. Torridge and North Devon have so many talented people with much to offer, and weâ€™d like it to be offered from this gem of a building!â€
Market days are Tuesday and Saturday 0900 until 1600. The studios in Market Hall are open similar times every day from Tuesday to Saturday and Butchers Row/Market Place shops normal trading hours (although some studios may close earlier on Butchers Row).
The Market Hall can be booked by individuals, organisations or businesses every day (except market days) and most evenings. Rates are from Â£30 for a charity to Â£50 for a small business for 3.5 hours.
If you are keen on trading, want to run an event or use the hall please email Chris at Development@bideford-tc.gov.uk
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