Plans to refresh Loughborough Markets are continuing to be worked upon by the borough council and traders.
Regular meetings are being held between traders, officers and councillors as they look to improve the town’s award-winning markets.
Work has started on creating a stronger identity for the markets to help promote them better, the layout is being looked at and there are plans to create new overhead gateways to the markets area to make it look more attractive.
The Council also wants to host more regular entertainment and strengthen the markets’ food offering.
Last year Loughborough was named the best large outdoor market in the country and the Council is looking to build on that success for the good of the town, traders and residents.
Cllr Jenny Bokor, lead member for Loughborough, said: “We have strong markets in Loughborough but these are challenging times for town centres and that’s why we need to continue making improvements.
“We have a fantastic story to tell with eight centuries of history, great traders and boundless enthusiasm and passion for the markets. What’s critical to the success is that we work together, take our time and get it right.”
The project follows a report presented to the Council by retail experts last year which made a series of recommendations.
Cllr Bokor said: “The report gave us lots of ideas and we’re moving forward with some but not all of them. It’s up to us, working together with partners including the traders, to decide what’s best for Loughborough Markets.”
The Council is looking at introducing new branding for the markets to give them a stronger identity, building on their heritage particularly as 2021 will mark 800 years of markets being held in the centre of Loughborough. The branding, due to be ready towards the end of the year, will help promotion and marketing.
The layout of the market is not expected to change a great deal but there may be tweaks to make it more accessible, improve visibility and create space.
The Council also wants to build upon the food offering and have more regular entertainment. This is already happening as the markets now have new food traders and traders have arranged entertainment and music on various market days.
Ways to support the farmers’ market will also be looked into.
The main markets are held on a Thursday and Saturday, with a vintage market on a Friday and then the monthly farmers’ market held on the second Wednesday of each month.
John Ashford, chairperson for the Loughborough branch of the National Market Traders’ Federation, said: “Market traders attending the meetings concerning improvements to the retail market have been very happy with the level of consultation and engagement and hope the efforts of all involved materialise into a recognisably better retail market for the town, the traders and, most importantly, our valued customers."