New markets in Tipton opening up for business
New weekly open-air markets aimed at boosting trade in Tipton were launching in the town today.
The markets will be held in Princes End High Street and Owen Street under the pilot scheme, which aims to attract more shoppers to the town.
The market in Owen Street kicked off today while the pilot in Princes End will start on Friday.
Both markets run from 10am to 5pm on their respective days for the next three months.
Sandwell's economy boss Councillor Derek Rowley approved the 12-week pilot for both the markets in Tipton and one in Union Street, Wednesbury, last month.
Great Bridge Councillor Joanne Hadley, who has been a driving force behind the plans, said: "It will breathe life into Owen Street and we are trying to keep people in the High Street and regenerate it and I think the traders need all the help they can get. We are trying our best to regenerate the area."
The organisation Bescot Promotions will run the market, so there will be no cost to Sandwell Council or the taxpayer.
The markets have been approved despite retailers in Princes End fearing they will have an impact on their businesses and will be unfair competition.
More than 300 people signed a petition protesting against the plans.
They also argue that they have not been consulted on the plans by local councillors, and that several meetings with them have been cancelled.
David Taylor, co-owner of John The Handyman's, one of the shops in the precinct in Princes End, said that running a small business was difficult enough without the competition of a market.
He wrote to MP Adrian Bailey, and the markets manager Gerry Ritchie objecting to the plans.
He said: "We are concerned that introducing a market would take customers from our already struggling businesses and rather than invigorate the area, it would leave it in a worsened state."
However, to combat the fears, stallholders are being asked not to sell products which would be in competition with neighbouring shops.
The move comes weeks after Wednesbury councillors were given the go-ahead for their own weekly market in the town centre. The markets will run for six months from the start of the year.
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