MARKETS are set to remain 'at the heart' of town centre regeneration projects in Northwich and Winsford, with council interventions planned in the short term.

Both Weaver Square in Northwich and Winsford Cross are at the early stages of large-scale improvement plans, with Cheshire West and Chester Council overseeing both.

While markets in both towns have seen trade fall in recent years, a consultation on Weaver Square last autumn indicated a strong desire to retain the market's presence.

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Cllr Richard Beacham, CWAC cabinet member for regeneration and growth, has reaffirmed to the Guardian the council's plans to help markets thrive.

He said: “Markets are are a fundamental part of our town centre regeneration plans and we will continue to encourage small independent businesses to be part of our market offer in the future.

"We recognise the importance of markets for the local economies of the towns and city in our borough and want them to be vibrant, social places for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“For example, in 2018, we asked residents what they thought about the Weaver Square masterplan. The feedback shows that there is a genuine desire to maintain a market presence in Northwich and we intend to deliver on this."

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Markets in neighbouring Chester and Altrincham have seen renewed success in the past few years by diversifying – something the council and residents alike hope can be emulated in mid Cheshire.

Cllr Beacham said: "As our high streets are changing, so are the expectations of local people about what they want from a market.

"Recent improvements made to Chester Market have seen it develop into a real hub for the city and a popular new destination for visitors, welcoming around 17,000 people a week.

"The market now provides a fantastic selection of local produce, everyday essentials, special gifts and delicious dining options, and the late night opening on Foodie Fridays is proving a huge success."

Winsford Guardian:

Cllr Richard Beacham

“What we have learned from the success of the improvements in Chester is that markets need to respond to the needs of their communities.

"Markets are unique, they have their own identities and as the transformation plans for towns like Winsford and Northwich develop, we will continue discussions with local residents and traders to design a future for these markets which is at the heart of their regeneration.

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“In the meantime, the council recognises that we have work to do to support traders in Northwich and Winsford markets, and we are looking at a number of quick interventions to improve the current markets and we hope to be able to share these in the near future. Anyone who is interested in getting a stall and being involved in our transformation plans can contact the markets team.

“Finally, as residents, we all have a role to play in the future of our markets by spending time in them and shopping in them. For every pound spent in a local business, 63p stays in the local economy in comparison to 40p in a larger chain. So if you want to support your town, shopping local is common sense.”