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Folkestone's market to be run by town council for a trial year

Folkestone’s town centre market will change hands in a bid to extend and improve it for traders and shoppers.

The Sandgate Road market, which occupies part of the High Street from Shoe Zone round to Guildhall Street, runs on Thursdays and Saturdays, all year round, except January.

Folkestone Town Council (FTC) discussed taking the reins from Shepway District Council (SDC) last Thursday.

Folkestone Town centre's market occupies Sandgate Road.
Folkestone Town centre's market occupies Sandgate Road.

It would be on a year’s trial in a bid to address traders’ concerns.

If it is agreed, the town council will manage the market from Saturday, April 1.

As part of the town council’s planned changes it will aim to lower the stallholder fees in line with those in neighbouring towns.

Currently, Folkestone is the most expensive, generating £45,000 per annum from the pitches.
Changes will also include a £10,000 steer on marketing and advertising, with the creation of a new website.

The council also wants to extend the planning permission to add stalls up to the precinct, outside Debenhams.

This proposal could ease fears that the town’s stalls would shrink in the shadow of the once popular Sunday market.

Folkestone Market in October 1974
Folkestone Market in October 1974

Dozens of traders would line the seafront in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

The seafront market came to an end in 2004 and attempts to revive it were made in 2010 but with no success.

The seafront is awaiting redevelopment which is set to include more than 1,000 homes with retail and leisure venues.

The details of the draft report will be discussed at the Community Services Committee on Tuesday, February 7.

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