Specialist evening markets bringing visitors into the heart of Dudley will be held under plans to rejuvenate the town centre.
It is the latest idea being considered by council chiefs as they look to attract more people to the town and boost trade. The idea is inspired by the success of a similar night market held in Walsall town centre.
Live music and activities may also be run at the same time as the market.
Dudley deputy council leader and regeneration boss, Councillor Shaukat Ali, was today keen to stress the move would complement the existing market. Plans for a new Sunday market are in the pipeline.
Exact details on opening times and types of stalls are still being discussed by Dudley’s new Town Team but it is thought that more specialist goods, such as freshly cooked foods, crafts and gifts, would be sold and the stalls themed differently from the traditional daily market.
Councillor Ali said the historic market would remain under council management but added: “However, as part of the wider regeneration plans for the town, we are considering options to host specialist markets in the market place on Sundays and evenings, this includes speaking to market operators about the feasibility of working together to deliver more variety on the market at these times.
“It is hoped this will maximise the market’s potential and encourage more people from the borough and beyond to visit Dudley, increasing footfall and benefiting traders and retailers in the town.
“We want to make sure whatever we do complements Dudley’s existing market which, located in the heart of the town centre, remains popular with shoppers.”
The council is working with the Town Team on how to spend to spend the town’s £100,000 share from the Government’s £10 million High Street Innovation fund inspired by retail guru Mary Portas.
Group members will create a masterplan to refurbish neglected shops and attract new businesses.
Other ideas include setting up a tourist information hub in the town centre and encouraging the use of empty shops for community projects.
There will also be a greater focus on tourism and linking the High Street with existing attractions, such as Dudley Zoo and Dudley Museum and Art Gallery.
Dudley lost out on the chance to become a Portas Pilot town receiving a package of support but was successful with a bid to the High Street Innovation fund instead.
The council is also working on separate plans for a £6million revamp of the market place to create new stalls with canopies and remove the ageing toilet block to create a view of the town’s castle.