Market proposers to try once again

THE people behind the proposals for a Sunday market in Banbridge town centre are to try again.

A proposal, seen by the Leader, has been emailed to each of the councillors and submitted to Banbridge District Council in accordance with ancient market and fair rights for June 9, August 26, November 16 and January 12, with the option for the first Saturday in March.

The organisers have asked for it to be considered at the next meeting of the Council.

They believe that a revival of Ancient fair days, combined with existing town centre trading will help alleviate the fall in town centre visitor numbers.

“Banbridge is widely known as a market town, and it is envisaged that this concept will revive the monthly markets which were hugely successful in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Indeed the old Market House is one of the most iconic landmarks in Banbridge, serving as town hall for a considerable period of time,” the proposal states.

“The unique layout of Newry Street allows for a shop-facing market providing existing traders unhindered access to visiting patrons, whilst allowing the shopper a relaxed shopping experience with freedom of movement.

“With traders lined up along the central plaza, a trading area of approximately 290 metres is available, making the market one of the biggest such events in the country and will attract the footfall equivalent to such large scale events.

“This footfall (according to research) will help to prevent the decline of the high street as suggested by the Mary Portas theory, which Banbridge District Council supports.

“Existing rights already apply for Newry Street, for 12 monthly markets and Four fair days on the specified dates, annually. Previous monthly markets having been held on the first Monday of the month.”

A vote on the proposal for “An occasional Sunday Market” - set to operate 12 times a year - was first turned down before Christmas, and, following the January meeting of the council, was referred back to committee stage for further consideration.

Despite the council’s final decision, the developers maintain that Newry Street falls under the remit of historical ‘market rights’ conferred upon the council dating back to the 1800s - but those market rights have never been used.