Future of Norwich Market to be decided this month

Norwich Market and Gentlemans Walk.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norwich Market and Gentlemans Walk.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The fate of Norwich Market will become clear this month as traders have spent the last six weeks mulling over a new 10-year strategy.

In the previous financial year, the market made profits of around £50,000, but now almost a third of stalls are empty.

Traders claim a litany of regulations are putting off new businesses, but Norwich council say if action is not taken soon the market will become a 'burden' to them.

The proposed Norwich Market Strategy suggests new management is needed at the market to change 'outdated policies'.

'As the void units increase, then the profitability of the market will come into question and it will become unsustainable and a loss maker for the council,' it states. 'Efficiently managed and with strong leadership, the market can create a surplus for the council and add value to the economy of the city.

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'Currently, with the restricted base line information available, the market is probably bringing an added £8 to £10 million to the local economy. If the market was fully let then it would bring an added £15 million plus.'

Some stall-holders agree there has been a lack of management at the market.

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Michael Smith, of the Banger Stop, said: 'The whole market is so entrapped by new rules and regulations it leads to more empty stalls.

'They [Norwich City Council] have hired a troubleshooter to come and look at the market and see what they can do to improve it, I suspect to pass over to another organisation so it survives.

'It needs to be better supported by the council and put in more qualified hands. The whole place is being ground to a halt if they keep bringing in more and more rules.'

A city council spokesman said: 'Norwich Market is hugely important to the city and we are positive about its future. It is because we want to develop it and make it sustainable that we commissioned a markets expert to carry out an assessment and draw up a 10-year strategy to move it forward.

'We have asked the public for their views on the strategy and that feedback will help inform the approach we take.'

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