STAFFORD MP Jeremy Lefroy has reignited the idea of moving the town’s market to improve trade.
Jeremy Lefroy said the market could be relocated to Gaolgate Street when Marks and Spencer move to the Riverside development.
At the moment the council pays a peppercorn rent for the Guildhall space on a lease which has decades to run and officers say the cost of moving would be prohibitive.
“The market traders have often complained they don’t get the footfall,” said Mr Lefroy. “If that space is going to become free it would seem a logical thing for them to look at.
“Ultimately it’s up to the council and the market to look at it when Marks and Spencer move.
“I have raised it with the council informally.
It’s a major draw to the north end of the town centre. To me having the market there would increase the footfall.
At the moment the market is right on the edge of the main town. If it was where Marks and Spencer is now I’m sure there would be more passing trade.”
George Demetriou, Guildhall shopping centre manager, said: “I’m aware the situation of the market has been discussed and the possibility of relocation and reconfigurations to refresh it because it’s not serving the function of a market.
“The idea of the Marks and Spencer site has been mooted as was Woolworths site when it was empty.
We are constantly in discussions with the borough council in terms of future developments of the Guildhall and the effect on the market as they lease the area from us for the market.
We have looked at relocating the market at some future time but it’s not in our current schedule.”
A council spokesman said: “This is not really a viable idea as the rent on Marks and Spencer is likely to be much too prohibitive, requiring a huge amount of council money to fund it annually compared to the peppercorn rent we currently pay.
The current market is fit for purpose and doesn’t present us with any operational issues.”