High hopes for Wellington Market after landmark put up for sale
Traders say they hope Wellington Market can be re-born after its owners put it on the market.
The indoor and outdoor market has been put up for sale, little more than 12 months after the company managing the site pledged to invest in its future.
The property is being listed with the estate agents Lambert Smith Hampton, and is described as a retail investment opportunity.
More than 120 pitches are included in the site that is up for sale, along with a cafe and piazza, and two sets of self-contained retail units, as well as residential accommodation above.
For traders at the market the move means uncertainty over their future, and a number have spoken of their hope that a new owner will invest and build on the existing business.
Roger Davis, of Quality Flowers and Cards, said: "I'm happy that we'll have new potential owners. Hopefully they will spend money and turn it around. A new owner would be welcomed to work with us to make it the success it used to be."
Lisa Longland of Lesley's Larder added: "I think it can only be positive. If someone wants to buy it they won't want to lose money and will hopefully invest. That can only be a bonus."
One stall worker who did not wish to be named said: "It's probably a good thing. With new owners it can be reborn. I hope it's a positive thing but we don't really know any details."
Last year Wellington Market Company had said it was in a position to invest money in the market, attract more traders, stage new events and look at extending the opening hours.
Speaking in March last year Andrew Sparrow, CEO of WMC Retail, said that a new management team had also been put in place and they were working with traders at Wellington Market to develop an action plan on how to make improvements.
Cheery traders hope future looking bright
Many of the stall holders at Wellington Market have greeted the news of it being put for sale with optimism for the future. There are high hopes among the traders that a new owner will be keen to invest in the historic market.
Wellington Indoor and Outdoor Market has been home to a variety of stalls and vendors since its establishment 775 years ago in 1244. Recently it has been placed on the commercial property market under Lambert Smith Hampton.
Gary Farlow of Catherine’s Bakery said: “We don’t mind who buys it as long as someone does as we want to keep our jobs. It’s a bit of a surprise to us.”
Margaret Robinson of Margaret’s Eggs said: “We need the public to support the market. It’s a beautiful market. I absolutely want the market to continue.”
Diana Brown of InStyle Footwear said: “It could be beneficial. We’ve backed the company that owns it now all the way. If they have to sell it we hope it will be someone who will invest.”
Linzy Evans of Off The Wall added: “Whoever comes in, we will support them.”