REDDITCH market chiefs are to meet with the Market Traders Association (MTA) next week to firm up plans to set up a co-operative to run the town centre attraction.
The move comes after the borough council said it would put the running of the market out to tender for an outside body to run.
Bob Whiston, chairman of the traders association, said a co-operative was the only way forward — although he said he would also welcome working
with Redditch Town Centre Partnership (TCP).
“We are going all out for a co-operative,” he said, “running the market the market ourselves is the only way we can keep it at five days.
“If it drops to three days a week, which could well happen with a private firm running us, footfall would drop and we would lose our livelihoods.”
His comments come after the council said they would welcome a bid from the traders although Mr Whiston said his members would also welcome under the Town Centre Partnership.
“I believe we both want the same thing, a strong and vibrant market, and I feel we could work with them,” he said.
The market currently earns the council about £25,000 a year and would be looking to maximise any future earnings from any body that took it over.
Markets run as co-operatives have proved highly successful elsewhere in the country and Mr Whiston said the meeting with the MTA would help clarify matters for them.
A spokesperson for the TCP said taking on the market would be a major commitment and they would be meeting to discuss the implications and to see if such a move was feasible.
Meanwhile, a petition launched by former market chairman Chris Sutton to keep it under council control has already received hundreds of signatures.