Indoor market plan for disused buildingBy Julie Spencer
July 11, 2012
An indoor market could be set up in Wokingham as part of a Mary Portas-style make-over of the town centre.
Stallholders selling food, fashion or crafts could take over an empty building to pull in shoppers to the town.
The idea was put to councillors last night by Councillor Gwynneth Hewetson who was inspired by the shopping guru’s reality television regeneration of town centres. Before the meeting, Cllr Hewetson said: “We have been given the short-term opportunity to take over a property.
“The landlord has been very co-operative and is very excited by the prospect.
“This follows the Mary Portas report where town centres are going to be markedly different and we want to give the opportunity to residents and local traders to come together and try ideas.”
Cllr Hewetson said she believed food projects in other parts of the country where growers took their produce into towns not just to sell, but to cook, could be a hit in Wokingham.
She said: “People are working together to get out of this cycle that we have found ourselves in.
“The market would be just a toe in the water of opportunity – perhaps for those who want to create a new life or have faced redundancy. It is much cheaper to try a business out on a market stall.”
Cllr Hewetson said she was reluctant to pinpoint the location of the proposed temporary market until councillors, who met last night at the finance and general purposes committee, had given the go-ahead.
The Emmbrook North representative stressed the new indoor market would not rival the existing market, but would be an extension to it.
“We want new people as we do not want to lose the market around the Town Hall because it is successful and a focal point and it gives the town energy,” she said.
The market would run for three months and would have space for 40 stalls on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday but could open on other days if there was demand.
Cllr Hewetson added: “This is about looking for opportunities for people to help themselves.
“There is an amount of effort involved and people have to respond quickly and I would hope it could be open by August.”