Town Centre Market boosts trade

Published: 4 January 2022

View of crowd at Artisan market
Artisan Market

Newcastle events markets bring shoppers into town

Newcastle-under-Lyme’s outdoor market has had a major resurgence in popularity in the last couple of years, proving to be one of the major attractions for town centre shoppers, a new report reveals.

The report, set to be presented to Cabinet next week, will show that he market’s offer is central to the town’s appeal and outline how the market’s potential can be fully developed in future.

Performance indicators in the report show that although the traditional general market still brings in discerning shoppers for the more well-known traders it is the success of the event markets over the last twelve months that have led to an increase in its popularity and, as a result, footfall for the rest of the town centre.

Figures show that the average time people spent around the market at the busiest events was 174 minutes, or just over two-and-a-half hours, with shopping routes then spreading across the town centre.

Cabinet member for finance, town centres and growth, Stephen Sweeney, said: “The market has had an unbelievable couple of years, despite the pandemic and the two lockdowns we have all experienced. It is clear that people from the borough and beyond have really appreciated the accessibility and diversity of the outdoor market events and they have spoken with their feet by coming in to town.

“We work closely with our town centre partners to make Newcastle a safe, welcoming place where people can take their time to look around, bring their families, meet their friends, do some shopping and relax. The event markets we have seen be so well-received by people of all ages have been superb and I can’t wait to see the market calendar grow even more in 2022.”   

The Leader of the Council, Simon Tagg, added: “This resurgence as a major attraction for the town has been so good to see and there’s more to come. Newcastle’s residents have flocked to the market in huge numbers and made it clear that they like the way things are going. So, we are looking at new ideas, current trends and the things people love and value, and we will continue to breathe new life into a market that has been at the heart of the town for hundreds of years.”

The events calendar has been outstanding. The Artisan Market has just completed a full-year of events, attracting large numbers of shoppers and achieving 100% take-up from traders.  The summer and winter Vegan Festivals, both held on Sundays, were also incredibly busy and attracted the highest footfall.

The Record Fair attracts traders from across the North as well as the West Midlands and the ‘Greyhound Gap’ dog-friendly market saw the removal of some stalls at the lower end of the market to create a show ring.

The Antique Market remains one of the major draws for many people and boasts a high percentage of take-up for market traders and a very loyal twice weekly audience.

New traders are welcomed as well as those who have been a mainstay of the market across the years.

The Young Traders platform has been a springboard into business opportunity for entrepreneurs and young artists aged between 16 and 30 years old. As part of their dedicated market they have competed for the Young Traders Awards with several young people from Newcastle making it to the national competition finals.

In 2022, the Cabinet report states, ffuture aspirations for the market will continue to diversify. New event markets for the town centre could include

  • a Tri-service Armed Forces Day,
  • a university-run ‘Evening Student Market’,
  • an automotive memorabilia and classic vehicle market,
  • participation in the HG Wells Festivals and
  • a Pride event.

In addition to the increase in events markets and potential new attractions, improvements to the infrastructure of the historic market have included new entertainment and audience space by the Market Cross and the addition of electrical power and lighting to all fixed stalls.

The Council has secured also monies through the Future High Street Fund which will enhance the public performance and leisure activity space as part of the significant redevelopment of the town centre. This will include more connected public areas around the town to allow a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for all.

Cabinet will review the report on Wednesday 12 January, 2022.

The full Cabinet agenda and all reports will be published online before the meeting here: https://tinyurl.com/2p9f3xn3