New operator wanted for Alnwick markets

Northumberland Estates is looking for a new operator to take on the role of running markets in Alnwick town centre.

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 5th January 2020, 12:25 am
Alnwick Market Place. Picture by Jane Coltman
Alnwick Market Place. Picture by Jane Coltman

It follows the recent decision by previous market operator Local Living to give notice that it was ending its involvement.

Following lengthy discussions with Alnwick Town Council, the decision has been made to openly advertise the opportunity.

Andrew Robson, agent at Northumberland Estates, said: “The Market Square is the heart of Alnwick town centre and we very much want to see the weekly markets continue, as do the town council.

“It’s a great space and fabulous asset for the town. Hence this is a good opportunity for the right person to step forward and make the project their own.

“The Alnwick Markets date back to the 1200s, and as the owners of the rights to hold these markets, our main priority is to see this vital community asset not only continuing, but thriving. We are therefore open to new ideas and concepts.”

In October, Local Living served notice that it would cease operations at the end of 2019 with chairman Philip Angier and treasurer Anne Howie standing down to spend more time with their families and pursue other interests.

At the time, Mr Angier explained: “Put bluntly, unless new volunteers are forthcoming to take on the running of the business and/or there is a substantial injection of funding to allow key roles to become paid, Local Living will not have the resources or capacity to continue as Alnwick Markets licensee.”

Local Living operated regular Saturday markets and farmers’ markets and organised special events such as Taste of the North, Alnwick Food Festival and the Christmas market.

The new licence will be available from March 25.

Northumberland Estates understands that the market stalls and other equipment were mainly acquired with grant funding, so may be available to a new operator. For details on any such future arrangement, interested parties should contact Local Living direct.

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Abbie Curtis at The Estate Office, Alnwick Castle on 01665 510777 or [email protected].

The tender documents are also available to download from www.northumberlandestates.co.uk and it is asking for these to be returned by noon on January 31.