Plans announced for Surrey Street Market
Kez Hassan (far left), Paul Collins (middle) - both from the Town Team, and Mary Portas try some olives on Surrey Street Market.
Plans to breathe life into a one of the town’s most popular markets have been unveiled.
The Old Town Portas Pilot team have been given £100,000 to invest in the Surrey Street Market and the surrounding area.
Plans will be carried out over the next year and include the historical market being taken over by a private market management company.
They also want to create a community hub in Surrey Street, clean up Jubilee Bridge, organise events for the area, offer micro loans to traders and businesses in the area and install high speed internet and free WiFi.
The team also want to take advantage of the rich history of the area and create a heritage trail with the help of those who own certain historic buildings.
Kez Hassan, Chairman of the Portas team, said the aim is to encourage people back to Surrey Street market and make it a viable alternative to the high street and the town centre.
The aim of building a community hub in the market is so shoppers who buy street food can sit down and eat it. There will also be a kitchen where cookery classes will take place.
Mr Hassan said: "We want the market to be a reason why people come to the town but at the moment that isn’t the case.
"We are very happy with the plan and it was drawn out from what people in the community want for their area."
Vidhi Mohan, cabinet member for communities and economic development said it was important that decisions weren’t rushed in regards to management of the market.
He said: "We are supportive of their ideas without doubt. They want to overhaul the market and put investment into it.
Dave Etheridge, who runs the Mad Ass Chilli Sauce stall in the market said he could only see the positives in the plan.
"Something needs to happen with Surrey Street to get it back to what it was before. I remember 20 years ago it would take you 45 minutes to walk down as it was so busy.
"It isn’t like that anymore and that is because people don’t know about it. Projects like this will hopefully boost its profile."