Leighton Buzzard Market will continue during second lockdown, but only with traders selling permitted goods

Stallholders selling permitted product lines will continue to operate at Leighton Buzzard Market, following the new lockdown which came into effect earlier today.

Thursday, 5th November 2020, 5:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th November 2020, 5:50 pm

Traders have been selling their wares again since June when Central Beds Council agreed to temporarily pedestrianise Leighton Buzzard High Street.

Prior to that, the market ceased operating in March when the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced, before a food-only market was set up in the Hockliffe Street car park in May with the town council, as market operator, waiving pitch fees.

A town council spokesman said: "Another lockdown is difficult for everyone and no-one wants to be in this situation again.

The market's setup since June

"In accordance with Government guidelines, Leighton Buzzard Market will continue serving the town and its customers in the High Street on Tuesdays and Saturdays with allowable product lines.

"The same Covid-19 safety practices apply to our traders and customers alike and given the circumstances we ask everyone to please continue to be kind to each other, washing their hands (or using sanitiser) regularly, wearing a face covering when needed and keeping two metres apart."

A report to the November 5 town council market sub-committee states that since returning to the High Street in late June, the market "continues to successfully operate under difficult conditions" and that the consistency of permanent trader figures is "encouraging".

It adds: "Trader figures and product ranges are generally being maintained. Recruitment for traders will continue however the shortage of available space due to prevailing Covid distancing rules may influence the council’s ability to accommodate new traders.

"The market remains at the mercy of any future impact of Covid-based Government decisions. The newly enforced market layout has brought about the opportunity of seeing how well the market works when set in the road.

"The proximity of stalls and their facing into the road, has created a better-defined market space for people to enter. In turn, it has become more of an experience and a new energy can be felt. A better-defined space was part of the original ambitions of the market relaunch; to create a defined space and enhance the visitor experience. The removal of buses serves to enhance the market environment.

"Whilst not all traders and retailers said they liked it, it would be fair to say that in general, the market’s current location and layout is being enjoyed. If it were to stay in this formation and location, and the Covid distancing rules were removed, more of the casual and start up traders could be included. Likewise, the speciality trader market area could return. Being on the road may allow for some more experimentation with the layout."

Do you like the market's new location? Email views to [email protected]