New location boost for Saturday market

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Last Updated: 05 Mar 2021 10:25am

A deal to provide the Tonbridge Saturday market with a new home has been agreed by operators and the borough council.

The proposal will see the open-air market, which has been operating since the 1960s, move to a council-owned car park next to Sainsbury’s in Sovereign Way, Tonbridge.

Recent years have seen a steady decline in footfall to the market in its current location at the town’s railway station car park while works were carried out by Network Rail. The operators sought help from Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council to identify a more central position and easier access for customers.

Following a review of potential venues, the Sovereign Way car park, which already hosts a successful monthly farmers market, was identified as the ideal location. Subject to planning approval, the council will grant a lease allowing the market to operate from the more prominent position and offering a boost in business for traders.

The market, operated by Platt Group of Markets, has been suspended while Covid restrictions are in place. The first market in its new home is expected to take place on Saturday 17 April, barring any changes to the government timetable for easing lockdown.

Gary Platt, Managing Director of Platt Group of Markets, said: ‘The Sovereign Way car park was our preferred new location so I’d like to thank the council for enabling us to move there. This will be a fresh start for us and gives us the chance to make a visit to the Saturday market a must on everyone’s shopping list.’

Nicolas Heslop, leader of Tonbridge and Malling Council said: ‘The Saturday market has a great history in the town stretching back many years and it was disappointing to see it struggling on its previous site. I’m glad we’ve been able to step in to hopefully help revive its fortunes and bring even more colour and variety to our great town centre.’