THE door has been left open for Redditch market traders to take over the running of the popular town centre attraction.
It comes after the borough council’s executive committee approved plans to start the process of finding an external provider to manage the market.
The market currently earns the council around £25,000 a year but councillors are keen to make it more attractive and increase its sustainability while maintaining a regular income and minimising costs.
“The market isn’t losing us money, in fact it’s earning money for the council but we wanted to look at getting it as vibrant as possible,” Councillor Greg Chance (Lab, Central) told committee members.
“We have had to ask ourselves, is the council the best people to run the market – are there better people out there?”
Emphasising the need for a ‘quality operation with quality stalls’ options looked at by the council included only holding the market on three days – opposed by the market traders but giving the opportunity for specialist market days, using ‘demountable’ market stalls to create a pop-up attraction, or retaining a five day market – and all variations in between.
“What this allows us to do is go out and procure – we have no pre-conceived notion of what this might be and if the market traders want to run it as a co-operative there is nothing to stop them doing that if they put together a bid, so we would welcome an expression of interest,” said Coun Chance.
Leader of the council Coun Bill Hartnett agreed: “There are lots of opportunities here and it would be exciting to see the market traders themselves running the market.”
It was agreed to start the procurement process of outsourcing the market on the basis of a five year contract with an option to renew a further term of between two and five years.
It is expected if all goes to plan that the new management should be in place by this time next year.