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Sunday Market Gets The Go Ahead

Sunday markets are to start in Coventry next month despite bitter opposition from market traders after the city council rushed the decision through its committee structure.

Delays in reaching a decision had raised fears that the market would not have sufficient time to get going.

Special agreement from the council had to be obtained to allow the stalls to be set up throughout the city centre.

The first market is now expected to be held on 5 November and will run up to and including Christmas Eve, before restarting again on 7 January.

The market is an expansion of last year’s pilot in Bond Street, which was hailed a success, but aroused anger from elderly residents living in Bond’s Hospital as they were disturbed through the night by traders setting up their stalls.

Traders at Coventry Retail Market are also upset by the move. They believe that the new market will hit them, as they will not be able to compete.

Many of the stallholders say they cannot open on a Sunday because they are family businesses and it is the only chance they get for a day off.

Martin Stockdale, City Centre Company CoventryMartin Stockdale, Commercial Manager for the City Centre Company, said the Sunday market will have up to 100 stalls and should attract up to 5,000 new visitors to the city centre.

He said:

"We held a regular market in the Bond Street Car park last year and we know that it attracted thousands of visitors, a quarter of whom did not normally come to Coventry.

“We have received planning permission for a new market within the central precinct and Coventry City Council has also approved the scheme.

“Sunday shopping has taken off well in the city and this will be another boost. We have had considerable backing from traders in the city centre and they recognise that more people there on Sundays can only be good for trade.

“We want to make the city centre a seven-day-a-week destination and this is another major step in helping that happen.

"The city council has had talks with the retail market. We realise this is a difficult period for traders there and that many will view this as competition but we have placed certain restrictions on what can be sold on the new market and are also offering retail market traders 30 free stalls and the chance to leaflet visitors.

"We are very excited about the venture and are sure it will only add to the growing appeal of the city."

Cllr John Mutton, deputy leader of the city council said:

"Creating a vibrant and bustling city centre is a priority not only for the City Council, but also one of the six priorities agreed through the city's Community Plan.

“This is a very important and sensitive issue, which is why we referred any final decision to one of our Scrutiny Boards.

“We have granted the approval on the basis of being able to review the Sunday market in 12 months time, so we can assess its success and any effects it has had on numbers of people visiting the city centre, Sunday trading generally and those using both the Sunday market and the Retail Market."

The idea of Sunday markets within the city centre also has the support of key city centre retailers as Theresa Nelson, Head of Retail Operations at Coventry's Marks and Spencer explained:

She said:

 "We are already committed to the idea of Sunday trading within the city centre and have been working very closely with our colleagues in the City Centre Company to make it a success.

“Any additional attraction, such as a Sunday market, will add to the vibrancy and numbers of people visiting the city centre, which can only be good news for the city.

“It will also add more variety and choice for people and helps give another push to the overall promotion and marketing of Coventry city centre as an important shopping destination."
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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 6 Oct 00
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