Following discussions with the current operator, it is clear that the current operator is unable to continue with the market.
Unfortunately, the town council does not have the resources or the staff to run the market ourselves. The market will, therefore, be closed until further notice.
We do appreciate that this situation is deeply undesirable both for traders and market customers, as well as the town council and the town as a whole. But please bear in mind that, as custodians of the charter market, the town council is both legally and morally obliged to act openly and in accordance with public sector procurement regulations. We are acting as rapidly as is legally possible, we are not able to shortcut that process.
The market is one of the items on the agenda for the forthcoming Full Council meeting on Monday 13th June. At that meeting, councillors will be asked to approve the formation of the Charter Market Steering Group with delegated authority to advertise for a new market operator and manage the tendering process. Assuming that is approved, the steering group will then meet with prospective market operators to discuss their plans for the market. Once that is complete, the steering group will report back to the council with a recommendation on which operator should be offered the contract.
At the moment, it’s impossible to say with any certainty how long that process will take. But we will do our best to get the market running again as soon as possible.
We are aware that there have already been some expressions of interest in taking over the market. These have been noted, and, provided the council office has your contact details, we will get back to you as soon as we are able to formally open the tendering process.
In the meantime, we’d ask that you please do not repeatedly telephone the council office asking for more information. New information will be made public as soon as we have it, but until then there is nothing more which can be said.