Uncertain future for Alnwick street markets as stalwarts stand down
Alnwick markets licensee, Local Living, has served notice that it will cease operations later this year.
Efforts are being made to put a succession plan in place but the town’s historic street markets face an uncertain future unless new volunteers step forward or funding is found.
Chairman Philip Angier and treasurer Anne Howie are standing down from their roles with Local Living at the end of the year to spend more time with their families and pursuing other interests.
In a statement to staff and traders, Mr Angier explained: “For some months now we have been in discussion with the town council and others about options for a succession plan.
“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. Thus far we have identified neither.
“Therefore Local Living has given notice to Northumberland Estates that it will cease to operate markets in Alnwick after Saturday, December 21, and that it will surrender its markets licence. We understand that Northumberland Estates, who have been kept regularly informed about these developments, will be advertising to find another market operator.”
The town council has expressed its hope that regular street markets can continue, both as a matter of historical tradition and as a town centre attraction for local residents and tourists alike.
In particular it wishes to support and facilitate the seasonal special events and special markets which Local Living has helped to further and develop such as Taste of the North, Alnwick Food Festival and the Christmas Market.
Local Living will continue to operate regular Saturday markets, Farmers’ Markets and the Christmas Market on December 7 as normal up to and including December 21 and Northumberland Estates will begin a search for a new market operator for 2020 onwards.
Staff employed by Local Living will be made redundant after the closure of the market operations at the end of the year unless a new operator wishes to offer any continuing employment contracts.