Market Place deserves a ‘piazza’ action

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Hopes continental markets could one day feature in the heart of Spalding town centre have followed recent talks with Lincolnshire County Council.

Italia in Piazza is being held in the Sheep Market next week because trading restrictions have prevented it being held in the more attractive location of the Market Place.

Dennis Hannant, town centre manager, met with Coun Richard Davies, portfolio holder for Transport in Lincolnshire County Council, last week to discuss the use of the Market Place and Hall Place on non-market days.

Currently the central locations are used by Spalding Market in accordance with a market charter on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

But on all other days they revert to being a highway and therefore trading is against the law. Mr Hannant said: “This is a missed opportunity as these areas could be used for more specialist markets and other traders such as car dealerships, bringing much need additional footfall and revenue into the town.

“Also as these areas are pedestrianised between 10am and 4pm, it would make sense to use them for trading purposes during these times.”

Mr Hannant said a typical example of such a missed opportunity is the Italian Piazza (Italian Market) being held on the Sheep Market on Sunday, April 12.

He said: “The ideal and obvious place for this to be set up would have been the Market Place and on a week day, but because of the law it can’t be.

“It seems to me that in the current economic climate a town like Spalding needs to make the best use of all its assets and we need to find a way to allow this to happen.

“If the Italian market is a success, the intention is to bring other markets to the town, such as a continental market, French market and a German market on a regular basis. “

The Italian market opens at 10am and will have 16 speciality stalls selling freshly made Italian breads, Salumi (cured meats), cheeses, pasta, olives, herbs, extra virgin olive oil and luxury Italian chocolates to name just a few of the items on offer.

It comes highly recommended by the town centre manager in Peterborough and its Italian community and features during the annual Italian festival held there in September.