Ambitious 10-year plan aims to boost Norwich market

Norwich Market promotional feature.

Norwich Market promotional feature. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Attracting younger shoppers, promoting healthy eating and even moving stalls into specific zones - these are all ideas put forward in an ambitious plan to keep Norwich Market going over the next 10 years.

Norwich Market promotional feature.

Norwich Market promotional feature. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

As part of the Evening News Get Behind Your Market campaign, we've looked at what the future holds for Norwich's historic market place, and these are just some of the proposals put forward in Norwich City Council's 10-year plan.

In that strategy, the council acknowledged there was a 'need for change' to address problems with the market, including that about a third of stalls were empty.

The report said: 'Without some action then Norwich market will become a burden to the council and will result in the council subsidising its existence.

'Evidence across the country has shown with investing some resources into improving the market, then, sustainability becomes a reality.'

And after a consultation, the plans for moving forward have been released, with 12 main themes to look at.

These include setting up a better management model, linking up with educational establishments and the provision of more business support.

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Some of the ideas have already got underway, such creating branding for the market, and encouraging new businesses to take up stalls.

Others will take longer, such as exploring the idea of reorganising the market into trading 'quarters', for example a food quarter, clothing quarter, craft quarter, a general goods area and a food court.

Roger Ryan, Labour Norwich City councillor for University ward. Picture: Norwich City Council

Roger Ryan, Labour Norwich City councillor for University ward. Picture: Norwich City Council - Credit: Norwich City Council

Stallholder Mark Wright, who is also chairman of the newly-formed Norwich Market Traders' Association, said: 'One thing which has already happened is the market has had a clean and it looks much better.

Mr Wright, who runs Taxi Vintage at the back of the market, added: 'The reason I got involved with the association was because of the 10-year strategy. The council asked us to form a committee and we hope to work hand in hand with them to revive the market.'

Councillor Roger Ryan, cabinet member with responsibility for Norwich Market said: 'Norwich Market is many things to many people – a unique shopping experience for residents, a major attraction for visitors, a trading space for independent businesses at an affordable rate and a community space where people come together and socialise.

'Our recent public consultation demonstrated how well loved the market is and provided key information which we used to shape our 10-year market strategy.

'The market is at the heart of our city and with the stall holders we are already working to ensure it stays that way and is around for future generations to use and cherish.'

The 12 areas the council wants to focus on

There are 12 areas Norwich City Council wants to focus on over the next 10 years. These are:

1. Market position – monitor and determine the sustainability of the market.

2. Market management – establish a proactive, effective and efficient management regime which contributes to the themes of the market strategy.

3. Marketing and promotion – to maximise the marketing and promotion of the market with a view to increasing visitors.

4. Improvement potential and maintenance – to establish a regime in relation to maintenance and explore and evaluate the various options for the improvement of the trading arena.

5. Social and community – engage with the community

and seek to provide a market that they want to visit and

that they enjoy visiting.

6. Consultation – to engage with both the customer and the trader so an understanding of the relationship can be achieved.

7. Economy and regeneration – to increase the diversity and vitality of the market to support the 'Norwich' offer.

8. Innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise – to encourage the development of new business by building relationships with educational institutions, Job Centre Plus and other initiatives which

help provide assistance to business.

9. Culture and tourism – to be a major part of the city's cultural heritage and provide support to events and create the sense of place.

10. Environment – provide a good and safe environment for visitors to the market and increase the opportunities for reducing waste and increasing recycling.

11. Educational liaison – to liaise with educational institutions and assist in providing produce and business awareness.

12. Food and health – to promote a healthy lifestyle throughgood food knowledge.

National picture

In an age of online shopping and out-of-town industrial estates, the high street is often seen as struggling, let alone a traditional market.

And while local authorities still own the majority of markets across the country, when their budgets are being cut more and more are being transferred to private ownership.

But this doesn't necessarily spell out a downward spiral for these traditional community hubs, as they reinvent themselves to fit with current trends.

A report published by the National Market Traders' Federation and the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) last year found market trading dropped by nearly £1bn between 2009 and 2014, average occupancy in England was at 46pc, and a third of local authorities reported a decrease in income from their market.

But at the same time a revival of markets has also been trumpeted with the government getting behind traders and highlighting benefits.

So markets straddle an odd position, where they are branded as old-fashioned but also as saviours of the high street.

According to the NABMA this limbo situation creates an opportunity for regeneration and at least 25 traditional retail markets in the UK and Ireland underwent or started major overhauls between 2009 and 2014.

It's thought that the outlook for the future is generally good, as long as markets are able to adapt, invest and attract traders and customers.

What you think

In a survey carried out by Norwich City Council, nearly 1,000 residents gave their views.

These included:

• The market is important to the city

• It needs to be cleaner and more attractive

• There needs to be a wider offer of goods

• As national surveys show, there is demand for more varied food – both hot and cold – and more crafts

• There is a need for promotion and signage

• It's a good place to start a business as costs are low

• There is a need to attract the younger generation

You can get behind our campaign by tweeting @EveningNews with the hashtag #NorwichMarket, or visiting the Norwich Evening News Facebook page. Get in contact and tell us why you love the market and send us your photos.

Do you have an interesting memories of the market? Email

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