Over fifty applications have been received from traders wishing to take stalls at the new market when it opens in summer 2022.
The new market will be at the heart of the £72 million Northgate development currently under construction, which will also include a new 6 screen cinema, cafes and restaurants, public square and a multi-storey car park.
The Council’s ambitious vision for the new market is to be a ‘modern traditional market’ to build on the rejuvenation of the existing market, to support Chester’s post-pandemic recovery, and attract residents and visitors into the city centre.
Applications have been received from produce, goods, services, food and beverage traders. The traders in Chester’s existing market were actively encouraged and supported to apply for space in the new market, with nearly half of the existing traders making an application.
Applications will be evaluated by a panel made up of the Council’s Markets Team and external advisers; including a local business representative and experts with experience of creating successful markets in the UK and beyond.
As well as considering traders who would be new to Chester market, the evaluation process will take into account existing traders’ experience and track record, in recognition of their contribution to the recent success of the current market.
The response from both new and existing traders shows the success of the Vision and Manifesto for the new market, developed during a wide-ranging consultation process. More information is available at www.newchester.market. The aim is to provide a diverse and vibrant set of market stalls to meet the needs of residents and visitors, attracting around two million customers a year, and creating a market that rivals the best in the world.
The council is obliged by law to achieve best value in all its property transactions and a wide-ranging scoring process which was published in advance will ensure all applications can be consistently and fairly evaluated.
Andrew Lewis, Chief Executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “It’s encouraging to see that, even in these difficult times, and eighteen months ahead of opening there’s real enthusiasm from such a wide range of traders for the opportunity to be part of the new Chester market. The response to our invitation for applications is a positive sign of confidence in the future of the city.”
“We will be aiming to select a range of traders that can provide the best mix of produce, food, drink and services, demonstrating great value for money and catering for all tastes. We hope to announce the first successful applications in the summer.”
Any traders who are unsuccessful in securing space in the new market will be offered support to locate in other areas of Chester city centre, or in other markets across the borough.
As a result of feedback from traders, the Council simplified the application process and gave existing traders the opportunity to attend two free workshops delivered by West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce. Sessions were targeted to help traders develop their application and offer, with impartial advice on financial, marketing and legal issues. The Council also extended the closing date by two weeks to allow for more time to submit applications following the workshops.