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Church Site Answers Leamington Market's Prayers

Leamington’s troubled market has probably been saved after a change of location. Traders had to be turned away from the new site which saw a full house for the first time in years on Friday.

No longer hidden in car parks, the weekly sale of goods is now held outside All Saints Church, just the other side of the Victoria Bridge.

The historic bridge - linking the two Leamington shopping areas - is set to reopen to traffic in a few weeks after months of work which should further boost trade.

The market was in line for the chop after it had slumped to just two stalls, and the council leader said this move was probably its last chance.

Paul Skett, of E G Skett, who manage the markets on behalf of Warwick District Council said today:

“We had torrential rain on the day, but it went very well indeed. There was a tremendous amount of interest.

“The new site is more visual and is a good link between Old Town and North Town.

“We are delighted with the result and hope people keep coming back.”

He said the 18 stalls were full and some traders could not get a place – a far cry from the recent market of just two stalls at the old Packington Place site.

The extra stallholders are mostly the traders who deserted the market in recent months and years, as interest waned with the isolated location.

The new site, in front of the parish church and just over the Victoria Bridge from the Pump rooms, was thought to be the ailing market’s last chance. The district council was keen to keep the weekly event in Old Town, but struggled to find a good site.

Simon Brown, Associate Minister of All Saints Church said:

"We see the market operating from in front of the church as helping to bring the community together.

“We have involved the church council members with the operator and Regenesis to make this happen. It is very exciting.”

Cllr Joe Short, chairman of Warwick District Council, who met with traders at the new site said:

"The new location is much more user friendly for customers and traders alike. This will help boost trade in the Old Town."

Leamington mayor, Cllr Bill Evans, was convinced this site would be the answer. He said:

"This is a great news for Old Town. Some of us have been working very hard to keep a worthwhile market in old Town.

“When I saw the success of the earlier experiment in Priory Terrace I was convinced this would be the answer.

“I am grateful to the church authorities for allowing us to use this great site, so that the market can become an integral part of the Old Town Square. I will certainly be a regular user of the market in its new location."

Paul Yardley, chairman of the Old Town Traders Association said:

"We are pleased that the traditional market has been saved in Old Town. The new site is far superior to the old site and businesses particularly around Victoria Terrace will benefit.

“This together with the imminent reopening of the bridge is good news for Old Town.”

The church forecourt space will now allow 18 stalls market to operate each Friday between 9am and 4pm.

SEE: 20 Jul 00 Last Chance for Leamington's Ailing Market 

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CWN / Politics / Warwick District Council / 21 Aug 00

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