Wednesday, 2 April 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Outdoor market set to return to seafront site

MINEHEAD’S outdoor market looks set to make a return to the town’s seafront, following extensive talks with a local publican.
John Richardson, of the Hobby Horse Inn, on The Esplanade, has revealed to The Post how the town’s outdoor Tuesday and Thursday market is almost certain to be based at his establishment, following talks with market officials.
The news will be a big boost to local traders, who have been calling for it to be relocated nearer the main town centre shopping area.
They had complained of seeing a downturn in their business following the market’s move further out of town to Seaward Way.
Mr Richardson said: “It is 99.9 per cent certain the market will be based here, although there are few areas we still need to sort out.
“The market will be open on the same days, and the format will still be the same, although it will have to downsize a little to fit into the space.
“The gardens and outdoor areas will be used, and use will also be made of the ballroom for those things which are currently indoors.”
The outdoor market had to leave its long-standing site next to Minehead Railway Station last year to make way for a controversial industrial units development being carried out by Somerset County Council.
Mr Richardson said he was ‘only to happy to help’ when approached by market officials who looked at a number of possible sites on which to relocate the market.
He said: “The market people asked if we were interested after looking at a few places, and they thought they could make it work.
“This will be good thing not only for us, but for people all around this area who have wanted the market to move back to this end of the town.”
The move to The Esplanade is likely to take place during Whitsun week at the end of May, or possibly a week earlier in order to allow a trial run before the public holiday.
Market organiser Brian Davies was unavailable for comment as The Post went to press.

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