A new monthly street market is to be staged in Preston city centre as part of a major drive to bring in more visitors to the city.
Most of Fishergate will be closed to traffic when the Saturday Makers Markets take place on the high street.
The first one will be held on May 11.
The Makers Market is a food, drink, creative and musical event, staged by experts and supported by Preston Business Improvement District.
The popular Makers events have a loyal following with thousands of visitors attending markets across the North West including Knutsford, Liverpool, the Lowry Outlet, Chester, and at Spinningfields in Manchester.
The markets will feature unique creators, makers, designers, producers, bakers, musicians and artists.
And Preston producers and local market traders will also be invited to take part.
The event, which is to be staged on the second Saturday of every month, will take place between 10am and 4pm on Fishergate, which will be closed to traffic for the event - with discussions underway with bus companies to re-route existing bus stops.
Mark Whittle, from Preston BID, insisted the ‘minor inconvenience’ of re-routing traffic would be outweighed by the economic boost for the city centre. He said: “We have been in talks with the Makers Market team for some time and have watched with interest, their growth.
“Their events are incredibly popular and chime a chord with customers looking for a uniquely independent visitor experience.
“Preston has a fantastic new market hall and some great independent businesses – the Makers Markets will provide an additional opportunity for quality traders and independents to promote their business.”
The Makers Market is a collection of independent artisan traders that come together to share their trades with the local community.
Vicky Crane, director at the Makers Market said: “We are extremely excited to bring a monthly market to Preston, taking place on the second Saturday of the month, showcasing the very finest in local food, drink, arts and craft.
“We welcome any local artisans and musicians who would like to get involved to contact us via the BID.”
Andrew Stringer, chairman of the City’s Retail Forum said: “We have been working hard to bring the Makers Market to Preston for a while and are delighted to announce the launch of the monthly event in the city.
“Not only will the event complement our existing retail line up, it will also attract visitors from across the region to experience this artisan market that has proved so popular elsewhere”
For further information on the event follow Shop Preston on Facebook.
What do traders and shoppers think?
Julie Fausset is following her dream of running a coffee and food café called Brew + Bake in the new market hall after working in the NHS from school.
She said: “This is the first I’ve heard of it, so they haven’t invited us or other traders at the market to be a part of it yet.
“You’d think they’d want us to be a part of it, since it is supposed to be of benefit to us independent traders.
“But from what I’ve seen of these markets in Lancaster and places around Manchester, they are made up of traders and artisans who visit different towns and cities with their stalls.
“They are not Preston-based people. So they will be taking their money with them when they leave.
“So to be quite honest, I’m not in favour of it at all. It’s hard enough as it is as an independent business in Preston.
“How is going to be of benefit to me if they go and bring in other coffee and cake stalls, from outside of Preston?
“We provide home-baked cakes and quality coffee already, so they are not offering anything different than what’s already here.
“We don’t need the extra competition, even if it’s just for one day.
“And it should be more crafty things, like homemade jewellery, clothes and arty things. Things you can’t buy in Preston.”
Mark Woodacre, 37, from Preston, customer at Brew+Bake said: “It sounds nice and if it’s only one day a month I can’t see it being too damaging to market traders who are already established in the centre.
“But personally, I’d rather see them do more with what they’ve already got.
“The market looks great and they have some really nice stalls since they reopened, such as Brew and Bake and the Orchard Bar.
Ian Pennington, 54, from Ashton said: “If it means paying £6 for a burger, I’ll give it a miss.
“These things might do well in other places, where there’s a bit of money knocking around. But not here.
“Most people can’t afford the stuff they sell.
“Everything always looks nice, but who would pay the best part of a tenner for a burger? They’re just too dear.”
Plans for late night events at Flag Market
One of Preston’s key events spaces is looking to extend its operating hours as it gears up for another summer of events.
Preston Council Community and Business Services has lodged plans with its own licensing department to keep events at the Flag Market alive and kicking until midnight.
The notice states the council wishes to “vary the operating hours for plays, films, boxing or wrestling events, live music, recorded music, performance of dance and anything of a similar description” to 9am to midnight, Monday to Sunday.
A city council spokesman said: “The application is to standardise the hours for each day of the week and to enable a range of events and performances to take place on the Flag Market.
Each event application will be assessed on an individual basis.”
The council’s current licence for the square, issued in 2007, already has the green light for the aforementioned events but with a 10.30pm finish, Sunday to Friday, and an 11.30pm finish on Saturdays.
The Flag Market is one of the city’s most popular venues due to its location in front of the Harris Museum.
Over the years it has hosted hundreds of events entertaining thousands of people including Chinese New Year celebrations; annual wrestling shows from Preston City Wrestling (PCW); the Caribbean Carnival King and Queen competition; Remembrance Sunday services; and the Preston Mela celebrating South Asian culture. The council has until Monday, April 22 to submit representations to the licensing department.