Stockport Council has started its search for an operator and manager to run the town’s historic market, six months after picking restaurateur Steve Pilling as the preferred trader for the neighbouring Produce Hall and Market Place.
The town’s market, including an outdoor space and a glass-covered market hall, has traded in the same location since 1260 and the council is now looking to appoint a manager and operator to create a “strong, diverse, and attractive” offer for the space.
“The council’s vision for Stockport Market is that it will be a location that is a vibrant area with a range of activities and animation on offer, which capitalise on the unique environment and attract different audiences to the area,” said the council.
A management contract is expected to begin by September and run for four years, with an option for a two-year renewal, meaning the management and operation deal could run up to 2025.
The operator for the market would work alongside Steve Pilling, picked last year as the preferred tenant for the Produce Hall and Market Place, a decision which has paved the way for a major food destination in the town.
The grade two-listed hall offers 3,300 sq ft at ground floor level and a 900 sq ft mezzanine, while the Blackshaws building at 28-29 Market Place totals 1,400 sq ft.
Pilling’s appointment had proved controversial with the team behind Foodie Friday, a monthly street food event held in the town, which accused the council of “prioritising the corporate desire of its executives over the needs of the local community”.