Stockton market traders relocate to new homes once again

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A historic Teesside market dating back to the 14th century has seen pitches shifted once again.

Traders on Stockton market started from new spots on Wednesday after a move to the north end of the High Street was backed.

The “Queen of the North” has been shifted around the town centre more than once in the past decade.

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Now Stockton Council has moved traders towards the north of the High Street near the Stockton Flyer following a consultation last year with traders and visitors.

More changes are afoot in the town centre with the demolition of the Castlegate shopping centre and former Swallow Hotel scheduled for this year to make way for a riverside park.

Results from surveys on moving the market showed 45% of the 407 responders wanted “option one” – with stallholders based between the Shambles and the town hall, and north of the fountain.

However, more than a third wanted stalls to stay as they were.

Of those surveyed, 314 were visitors to Stockton while 44 were traders.

Almost three-quarters (73%) of traders who responded to the consultation opted for the new configuration.

Some concerns were shared about the prospect of a move by traders last year – with regular shoppers now faced with working out where stalls had moved to when visiting the High Street.

There was also some irritation given the recent history of the market.

Regeneration plans unveiled almost a decade ago saw market traders moved south of the town hall to make way for a new space.

In 2013, officials said they had adjusted their town centre proposals several times as a result of discussions with market traders – adding they had “consulted carefully with traders about their permanent locations”.

The recent council consultation also offered commentary on written responses to the move.

“Comments show that the majority are in favour of option one as it sees the markets return to their original location,” the report added.

“And (it) creates a link between its current location and Wellington Square whilst keeping stalls ‘together’ with a heavy focus on footfall.”

However, worries about poor weather and winds also reared their heads in the responses over fears stalls could be exposed once the Castlegate is knocked down.

Stockton’s market is held every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

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