A MARKET boss says he will now look to invest into a town centre sale after winning a new contract.
John Noble, of Nobles Promotions Ltd, was given permission to run the market in Church Street, Seaham, when it was launched in 2011 following years of campaigning by the town council.
But the business boss said he halted any investment after Durham County Council carried out a review of the 10 markets held across its area which looked at how they could thrive when they faced competition from out-of-town retail parks and supermarkets.
Now, the council has agreed a series of contracts with Mr Noble, allowing him to run the Seaham sales as well as markets in Chester-le-Street, held on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
They will run for three years, with an option on another two.
Mr Noble, who also runs car boot sales in Seaham and Rainton Arena and has a contract to run Stanley’s market, now plans to entice more stallholders in with deals on rents.
He said: “We will now look to making Seaham a vibrant little market.
“It can’t be a big market because there’s not enough space for it, and it’s had a lot of ups and downs with the refurbishment of the street.
“Now we’re really campaigning to bring people into Seaham.”
Ideas to attract in shoppers, including free buses, had not worked, but he hopes value offered by the stalls will entice people in.
Billy Caris runs three catering vans and has been in the business for 20 years, working alongside his wife Lydia and daughter Claudin.
The father-of-four from Hetton, who works from the New York Diner in Church Street on Fridays, said: “The weather has been the main problem before, it would build up then the weather would get terrible. I think everyone will expect it to get better now John’s got the contract.
“I think there’s going to be more stalls, a lot more space filled, and I hope together, more for the public.”
He added the repaving and new seating put in place on Church Street had been welcomed by the traders, who believe the old benches had been “tatty” and made the precinct look worn down.
Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s consumer protection manager, said: “Markets play a vital role in creating strong local town centre economies.”