An appeal has been launched in a Yorkshire Dales town to preserve and promote its historic market, which dates back to medieval times, in the face of the threat to high streets up and down the country.
Bedale Town Council is calling on local residents to support their market and is also hoping to boost the number of traders at the site in a bid to ensure it remains a crucial part of the town’s heritage.
Bedale was granted a market charter 860 years ago allowing the town to hold a market every Tuesday and for hundreds of years it has been a focal point of trade and commerce.
As part of the drive, the town council, which has run the market since 2006, has produced a new promotional leaflet and it is also offering budding entrepreneurs a chance to sell their goods to the public for £11 a day.
The Mayor of Bedale, Mandi Coates, said: “The market is such an important part of the town, we really want to see it being used and improved. We have a faithful and committed group of traders who brave the British weather every week to bring a whole range of food and goods to our doorstep.
“But we want to encourage more traders to come. This really is a unique chance for people to put their commercial ideas to the test for the price of less than a round of drinks. We’re also asking local people to use the market to come and see what is on offer.”
Markets have had the seal of approval from retail guru Mary Portas, who was recently commissioned by the Government to report on the preservation and promotion of the high street. She advocates a national market day and says politicians need to encourage and enable markets to be new social hubs full of entrepreneurial talent and innovation.
Martin Carrick, whose family has traded fruit and vegetables and fresh fish on the market since 1929, said: “For people just starting out this is a good way to promote a product, it can be a real stepping stone to the big time.”