The long-awaited revival of Clare Market, which has been absent for two decades, was hailed as a great success, as the initiative to boost the town’s tourism and economy gathers steam.
The event arrived on Market Hill on Saturday for the first time in 20 years, with traders and community groups occupying 16 pitches, after local residents and businesses expressed strong interest in its return earlier this year.
Terry Clements, mayor of St Edmundsbury, and Mike Wabe, Thetford’s town crier, helped to launch the market, which will now be held on the third Saturday of each month, and will offer a free stall for new and local businesses to try their hand at market trading.
Clare borough councillor Alaric Pugh said: “The market was a great success and well attended, bringing a great buzz to Clare.
“There has been lots of enthusiasm from residents and businesses to re-establish a market in Clare, so I am thrilled that, together with Clare Town Council, the CBA and other traders and enthusiasts, we have been able to support its reopening.
“Clare has a brilliant character and charm, and I know from feedback we have been getting both before and on the day that a strong market with an array of stalls complements the businesses that we have here in the town.
“It’s clear the market will help attract even more shoppers and visitors, while also becoming a focal point for our community.”
The market’s return comes after the launch earlier this summer of Visit Clare, a new project supported by parish, borough and county councillors, which aims to encourage business growth, attract more visitors to the town and make the area a destination which can “rival the Cotswolds”.
Sharon Fairweather, the market development officer at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The stalls were very busy all day. The bread stall sold out by 11am, so they will be bringing more next time.
“There was a lovely atmosphere. There was a lot of chatter with people saying it was nice to see it. The businesses did well. There was an increased footfall and they were supportive of the market.”
The next market is on Saturday, September 16.