Civic watchdog suggests changes to boost Norwich market for the future

What can you buy from Norwich Market for £10.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

What can you buy from Norwich Market for £10.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A civic watchdog has thrown its support behind Norwich market – but not without calling on the city council to make some changes.

Use them or lose them, says Debra Kidd - pictured is Norwich Market. Photo: Rob Colman.

Use them or lose them, says Debra Kidd - pictured is Norwich Market. Photo: Rob Colman. - Credit: Rob Colman

John Litster, from the Norwich Society, said the group wanted to see changes made to the market to safeguard its future, and make sure shoppers want to keep coming back.

Mr Litster, who is administrator and secretary to the society's trustees, said: 'Firstly, when the market was last redeveloped dining habits were different to what they are now.

'A lot of people don't like walking through the market because people are propped up eating.'

He said part of the market should become an open area, which would give somewhere for people to sit or stand and have some lunch, or get a cup of tea.

It comes as the man behind the redesign of the market in 2006, Michael Innes, said on Thursday that there should be more open areas.

And that is not the only idea of Mr Innes' the society agreed with.

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'Secondly, nobody knows what stalls are open,' said Mr Litster, with the suggestion of electronic boards, scan-able QR codes, or even an app to boost footfall. 'We're concerned about the future of the market. Last time this happened it was a complete redesign.

'We've asked for a meeting with the market manager, as it is something of great concern to us.

'It goes without saying the market is a very good thing: it brings people in the city centre, and gives you things you can't get anywhere else.

'And what else would go there if it wasn't there? But that's not the only justification.'

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'We appreciate the Norwich Society's interest and ideas for Norwich market. Good signage is vital for the market and an issue we are currently addressing, alongside taking action on many others in our 10-year plan.'

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.

Council's future plans

The city council's plan to keep Norwich market going was launched this year, and, spanning 10 years, it has a lot lined up.

In it the council acknowledged there was a need for change to address problems, including the fact 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.'

And after a consultation, the plans for moving forward were released, with 12 main themes. These include setting up a better management model, linking up with educational establishments and the provision of more business support.

Some of the ideas have already got under way, such as 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.

Do you have interesting memories of the market? Email