Market bosses say a cash injection planned to improve Blyth market could have a big impact on the whole of the town.
Blyth Town Council is preparing to invest £4,000 to make the market square, which has come under fire from traders and residents, a better place to visit.
The council is providing new tables, covers for stalls, a new website and stickers promoting the online information for traders’ vans.
Northumberland County Council is helping by offering new traders the first three months free alongside a ‘Love your local market campaign’, and Blyth Town Team is putting together a marketing group to encourage new traders to the town.
Officials at the National Market Traders’ Federation (NMTF) have welcomed the cash injection, saying it could help the whole of Blyth.
NMTF president Michael Nicholson said: “It is a fight back from all the negative publicity that the town is getting.
“We have had a lot of negative publicity and I don’t think it is as bad as painted, but we are trying to improve not just the market place but the whole town.
“If the covered market can go ahead it would make a huge difference because then there is no longer the problem of worrying about the weather, as traders will be able to trade 52 weeks of the year, and shoppers will be able to shop 52 weeks of the year.
“It is a case of everyone working together to try and improve the town as a whole.”
Blyth town manager Michael Hutchinson says the news is great for the town, and they will continue to fight to get a covered market.
“In a round about way, Jeff Reid’s comments calling Blyth a dump have been a benefit to us, as we are now looking at how do we go forward with the situation.
“We have had meetings with the council and retailers and have agreed that we can go forward to reinvent Blyth as a market town.
“We aren’t going to be able to compete with the MetroCentre, but let’s take Blyth back to its roots.
“A covered market would bring people in, and if footfall is up, we can then attract shops back to Blyth.”
Blyth MP Ronnie Campbell added: “The one thing that brings people into Blyth is the market, and if they get a cover for it, then more people will come.
“It would be good for the market and the town.”