A new partnership has been launched in a bid to bring the glory days back to an ancient South Tyneside market.
The Market Square, in South Shields, which underwent a multi-million pound makeover last year, will soon host themed food, craft and farmers’ markets as well as the popular traditional markets which run three days a week
From April, South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes will be working in partnership with environmantal and community group Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle to manage the market.
It has also been confirmed rents for stall holders will be frozen until 2018.
This new partnership aims to grow the traditional market by attracting new traders as well as hosting specialist markets and events to expand the visitor offer and drive footfall into the town centre.
The Market Square was refurbished as part of the South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan and now features a canopy roof around the perimeter of the trading area and landscaping features, including tree-lined borders as well as new traffic measures.
Coun John Anglin, South Tyneside Council’s lead member for regeneration and economy, said: “South Shields’ proud tradition of market trading dates back more than two centuries and the market and its traders are a much-loved part of the fabric of our town.
“Thanks to the enhancements we’ve made, we now have a wonderful, modern civic space that lends itself to all kinds of activities.
“We’re delighted to welcome Groundwork to join us on the next stage of the market’s journey and look forward to seeing it flourish even further.”
He added: “With thousands of people a week flocking to The Word, the market is the perfect showcase for independent traders.
“In addition to the traditional markets, there will be more than 12 specialist markets a year, including food and crafts which will all complement events and activities being held at The Word and in the wider town.”
The summer craft fairs previously held at Harton Quays will also now take place in the market and will run on the first Sunday of every month from June until October.
Groundwork recently took over the running of Jarrow Hall - formerly Bede’s World - and also runs the West Boldon Lodge outdoor centre.
Andrew Watts, executive director of Groundwork, said: “The planned developments and programme will offer a sustainable platform for growth and improvement, allowing us to ensure we have an exciting and attractive offer that will encourage more visitors into South Shields town centre.”