PLANS for a new ‘quality’ market for Chichester have taken a step forward after gaining approval of senior councillors on Tuesday.
Tenders will be sought for the new market, to start from April next year, subject to approval of Chichester District Council’s full council later this month.
The plans, approved by cabinet members, will see the new market set up in the city centre precinct every Wednesday, on a year-long trial basis, while retaining the struggling Cattlemark on Saturdays.
CDC leader Tony Dignum said: “We want a clear distinction between the present offer and a quality offer in the precinct.
“We look to you (council officers) to make sure the standard is high. That will allay the concerns existing retailers might have and it will be a very successful draw to the city.”
The plans followed a detailed assessment by councillors into the potential of moving the Cattlemarket traders into the town centre, following the market’s gradual decline.
The trial was welcomed by Chichester Business Improvement District, which chairman Andrew Finnamore said would reinforce Chichester’s Market City status.
A council consultation revealed city centre businesses did not support moving the existing market to the precincts but did support other markets being held in that location.
This, officers argued, indicated some support ‘or an appropriate form of market being in the precinct location’.
A petition of 1,000 signatures in support
of retaining a general market has been received and will be debated at full council
Cabinet member for commercial services Gillian Keegan said the new market could boost business, noting how Winchester’s market had pumped more than £8million into its economy.
She added the council would retain a high degree of control in being able to dictate the standard of goods offered.
Fellow cabinet member Roger Barrow said: “A good market can add vibrancy to any city to bring in extra footfall but I have a couple of anxieties. What do we mean exactly by a good and improved standard of market and how do we identify produce of good quality.”
Mrs Keegan told her colleague this would be dictated by the council’s strict specification.