Mar­ket switch proves a hit

Middlesbrough Herald & Post - - HERALD & POST -

IT’S like Boro’s Glasto! That was the view of one happy punter who en­joyed Mid­dles­brough’s Or­ange Pip Mar­ket’s first foray onto Cen­tre Square.

When Mid­dles­brough Coun­cil an­nounced the pop­u­lar mar­ket was to move from Bed­ford and Baker Street, it sparked con­tro­versy, with traders and the public wor­ried it would lose its char­ac­ter.

Even­tu­ally, the author­ity de­cided to move Satur­day’s mar­ket for one day only.

The event was re­con­fig­ured, with a stage and drink­ing zone sep­a­rate from the food stalls usu­ally crammed into the cen­tre of the two ter­raced streets.

Stephen Moloney, 31, from Long­lands, Mid­dles­brough, said: “I wasn’t too sure what to think, as when I got here it wasn’t too busy so you could get round things.

“But it’s got Warsteiner on tap, so that’s OK for me.

“The only thing that’s let it down for me is the stage has a fence round it so you can’t take your beer out. You want to en­joy the whole thing, and the food stalls are sep­a­rate.

“I think it needs more space and it was a good idea to give some­thing dif­fer­ent a try, but I don’t think they’ve got it quite right. They should give it a try ex­tend­ing to Al­bert Road as when I went down Baker and Bed­ford Streets, they weren’t as busy as usual.”

Mid­dles­brough Coun­cil had said the monthly mar­ket would move to Cen­tre Square to pro­vide much-needed “breath­ing space” for the rapidly ex­pand­ing fes­ti­val. It said the grow­ing crowds had prompted safety and ac­ces­si­bil­ity is­sues, as well as a num­ber of com­plaints that the event was no longer a com­fort­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

Cen­tre Square was set to be tri­alled for Satur­day’s mar­ket and if suc­cess­ful would be used in July and Au­gust, with a fur­ther re­view for au­tumn.

But plans to move more than one event were scrapped af­ter traders spoke out against it.

How­ever, speak­ing about Satur­day’s Cen­tre Square event, Heather Wil­lis, 32, from Mid­dles­brough, said: “It was great – the sun was shin­ing, all the stalls were busy and ev­ery­one seemed to be en­joy­ing them­selves.”

The Sum­mer Spe­cial event housed a fes­ti­val-style bar with 32 taps serv­ing ar­ti­san ales, and other pop-up al­co­hol stalls.

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