Progress is being made to reinstate the Friday Ramsgate market, Thanet council says.
The authority says an amendment is needed to traffic regulations over access to the High Street, King Street, Queen Street – and Harbour Street – and that work is now taking place on documents ahead of inviting expressions of interest from operators.
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. This plan did not move forward.
In June last year Cabinet members approved proposals to secure a new operator for the market, and to remove existing street trading and hawking restrictions on the High Street, King Street and Queen Street. The market was expected to be up and running this Spring but has not yet come to fruition.
Last night (March 30) councillors at the last full council meeting before the local elections this May discussed the progress in response to a petition that had been submitted urging Thanet and Ramsgate councils to bring the market back as soon as possible. Some 438 signatures supported the call.
Thanet and Ramsgate councillor Steve Albon said he had met with the relevant officer to discuss how the market could work and potential stall locations and layout.
He said: “I am very pleased that the matter of Ramsgate market is now progressing. It has been some while because we have not had the staff to be able do it.
“I have met with the officer concerned and helped as much as I could to get the thing in motion, which I am pleased to see it is.”
Cllr Tricia Austin said there has been “a great deal of concern” over the time taken to reinstate the market and advised publicising the progress.
A report to councillors says: “We are currently in the process of drafting a specification for discussion and agreement with our Procurement team with a view to inviting Expressions of Interest.”
Jim Brady, who runs Heaven and Hell gift shop in the town, was behind the launch of the petition and said the Friday market is a vital part of the town, bringing people on to the high street.
3 years to get a market back? Probably unwise getting them to arrange a party in a brewery.
What utter balderdash I think it says much about TDC that 3 years on and the market is still not running.
I sometimes wonder why in Britain things don’t seem to work,here is your answer.
3 years to get the market back , thats probably when those loaves where baked ?
It’s been wonderful seeing this building being restored – and the change to harbour street over the past couple of years is really positive; new independent businesses (alchemy, book bodega, harbour active, limitations, Turner Rowe, etc), several new restaurants, and of course the excellent boulangerie – all bringing trade and footfall to the town.
Money spent in local independent businesses helps the local economy hugely more than that spent in the faceless national chain stores – they all deserve our support and patronage – Good luck to them all.
a process weighed down in bureaucracy. more highly paid “jobs for the boys” means less money to spend on things that will actually make a difference to ourtown.