Thanet council Cabinet members due to discuss future of Ramsgate market

Ramsgate market could return Photo Maxine Morgan

Thanet council Cabinet members will discuss proposals for securing a new operator for the Ramsgate outdoor market at a meeting on June 16.

Members will also consider removing street trading and hawking restrictions on the High Street, King Street and Queen Street.

If approved by Cabinet, the council would request tenders for the provision of market operator services for a weekly (subject to planning permission) or monthly outdoor market in the town centre. The tender opportunity would be marketed via the Kent Business Portal.

Thanet council says two potential locations have been identified as suitable for a market: Ramsgate High Street and/or Westcliff Promenade Green. Other locations could also be considered.

The council will charge a fee of £250 per market, meaning an annual income of between £3,000 to £13,000 depending on whether markets are held monthly or weekly.

The town centre, Friday market shut when covid restrictions were brought in during March 2020. It briefly reopened in June of that year but issues around placement meant the market closed again. A new site proposed for Pier Yard car park on the seafront was scuppered at the 11th hour.

Traders were then given the go-ahead to use Staffordshire Street car park, taking space in several disabled parking bays. But there was a drop in traders taking part on Fridays and none willing to set up for business at the site on Saturdays.

The low number of stalls meant falling income, with then-operator Hughmark making a decision to cease trade in the town.

In October 2020 Thanet council said there were plans to create a new Canterbury style format with gazebos and themed days and the market contract would go out to tender.

But there has been no return of the market since that date.

A soft marketing exercise in January of this year only received one expression of interest.

Cabinet members are expected to approve the removal of Street Trading and Hawking restrictions and agree to the tendering process to go ahead.