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New market goes down well

PUBLISHED: 09:00 04 September 2009 | UPDATED: 08:28 01 August 2010

A BIGGER and more eclectic Beccles Market which was trialled last week got the thumbs up from shoppers and traders alike.

Beccles and District Regeneration Limited (BDRL), which runs the weekly Friday market, sought to breathe new life into the event by closing off the central market area completely, and for a longer period, as well as inviting a wider range of stalls.

A BIGGER and more eclectic Beccles Market which was trialled last week got the thumbs up from shoppers and traders alike.

Beccles and District Regeneration Limited (BDRL), which runs the weekly Friday market, sought to breathe new life into the event by closing off the central market area completely, and for a longer period, as well as inviting a wider range of stalls.

The event was a one off trial with a view to making it a permanent weekly fixture, and seemed to go down well with shoppers.

One happy customer was Anne Swaby, of Beechtree Close in Beccles. She said: “It's a lot better. We need a little bit more life in this town. There's more people about.”

Beccles Market normally has five stalls, but attracted eight more last Friday, with extra products for sale including sweets, preserves and jewellery.

Whilst part of New Market is normally closed off from 8am until 4pm on Friday's, New Market was closed off entirely from 6am to 4pm for the bigger Market.

Jula Janney, of BDRL, said that she was waiting for people's feedback before deciding whether to make the bigger Market a permanent fixture.

Gerald Randle, who owns a wholefood stall, and Tony Law, who owns Law's Fish, have each been a regular fixture at Beccles Market for many years.

They both praised BDRL for attempting to reinvigorate the market, and remained positive although cautious about whether it could work in the long term.

Mr Law said: “Time will tell. But you've got to take your hats off to them, they are trying. Beccles Regeneration have given us cheaper rents and they're trying to get us electricity in, which is another big help.”

Amongst the new traders were Karen Warne, of Hazy Daisy Clothing, which sells ethic clothing and jewellery.

She said she had never traded at Beccles Market and normally trades at music festivals in the area.

“I've always thought that when the French market's been here and the roads are closed it gives it a proper market feel,” she said. “It looks like a thriving market town, it's given it a new lease of life. It's given it almost a continental feel, to me it's complimenting the town. The idea's great, the location's great, the rent's cheap- it's got all the ingredients as a trader as something I would definitely embrace.”

Meanwhile another newcomer, Kevin Hilliard, of Kev's Pick 'n' Mix, said he would like to see it get even bigger.

“I think perhaps they could get a few more stalls that aren't food stalls- they could get a bit more variety,” he said. “Beccles is a market town, so if could have a bigger market in the future it would be better for the town.”

Christine McClellan brings her hot dog stall The Flying Chef to Beccles every Friday, and said that her takings had gone up for the special event.

“The feedback I was getting was very positive about the larger market,” she continued. “They felt that was what Beccles needed. They want to have a thriving market and they were happy that this was a step on the way to getting back to that.”

Jane Roberts owns Sweet Memories, a sweet shop in New Market, said she had had a good day's sales although she didn't think it had much to do with the market.

What did you think of the trial market? Contact Jula Janney at Beccles and District Regeneration Ltd on 01502 712109 to give your views.

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