Putting the market back in Market Drayton

Kate Gittins in Market Drayton market

New manager Kate Gittins said her ambition was to return the market to its former success (BBC)

Traders have expressed optimism that their town’s markets are improving, after changes to the way they were managed.

Shropshire Council took direct control of the indoor and outdoor markets in Market Drayton at the start of the month.

They are being overseen by Kate Gittins, who until recently ran Shrewsbury’s award-winning indoor market.

The change followed criticism from traders when the market was run through a commercial agent.

Jane Bundy, who runs Jane’s Accessories in the outdoor market, said she had struggled with bad weather, but the management changes and signs of spring meant things were looking up.

“There are lots of people out today and a couple of new stalls as well, so that’s good,” she told BBC Radio Shropshire.

Jane Bundy in the outdoor market

Jane Bundy is optimistic that brighter times are ahead (BBC)

“I think it’s working quite well at the moment, actually. They’re very proactive on social media, which is good, and I hear tales of new people arriving, which is what we need as well.”

She particularly welcomed moves to attract more food vendors, which she said would encourage people to spend more time there as the weather improved.

Melissa Jones, who runs Missy’s Little House of Crafts in the indoor market, was more cautious, saying: “We definitely need more people through here.

“I’ll see over the next few weeks if it starts picking up and how things are going with the rent, because at the moment it’s not worth me coming.”

Melissa Jones at the indoor market

Melissa Jones has yet to see the benefits at her stall (BBC)

Ms Gittins agreed it was early days, but said: “Ultimately, we do want to try to get it back to somewhere it used to be“.

She said her new role was “very different” as she had never run a street market before.

But she was confident that the increased promotion and changes like expanding artisan markets and collecting rent electronically would bring trade back to the town.

“We are going to try to put the market back into Market Drayton – that’s the ambition.”

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