THE borough council has ‘picked up the baton’ to make sure a market continues in Redditch – with a view to improving it for the benefit of all.
The authority has stepped in after Stratford-based Sketts, which had been managing the market, failed to renew its contract.
It left the stallholders facing an uncertain future as the government’s second step to easing lockdown, on April 12, loomed.
This paves the way for the re-opening of non-essential retail but with no management in place the market, which has been a feature of Redditch for decades, faced closure.
Former market chair Chris Sutton, whose grandfather was a market trader in Redditch back in the 1930s, said he had been contacted by worried stallholders concerned about their future.
“None of us had been notified by Sketts and we’ve only just heard and of course, you’re talking about people’s livelihoods here and if the market was just cancelled that would be it,” he said.
The situation was further complicated by the repaving of Market Place under the town regeneration plans.
“It meant that even if we did re-open the market would have nowhere to go,” said Mr Sutton.
Councillor Matt Dormer, the Leader of Redditch Borough Council, has made no secret of his desire to improve the town centre to shoppers and visitors, and that includes the market.
He said: “Sketts have not renewed their contract which leaves the market with us.
“As a result we will be working with the stallholders so that from April 12 they have somewhere to go and trade.
“In addition, in conjunction with the town investment plan we have to look at the market to make it better in the long term.”
Mr Sutton said: “I’m a passionate market trader and I totally agree with Coun Dormer’s desire to improve Redditch market.
“I spoken to the stallholders and we are very happy that he is helping us.”