THE future of a market that has helped rejuvenate Middlewich town centre hangs in the balance.

A trial period for the monthly artisan market in Wheelock Street has ended and organisers are hoping to make it a permanent feature.

But the event may prove to be unsustainable because it is being hampered with huge fees by Cheshire East Council.

It is understood that traffic management and road closure expenses could cost more than £2,000 for each event.

A council spokesman said: “Cheshire East Council believes the artisan market would prove to be a great asset for Middlewich and we very much support any initiative which brings more people into our town centres.

“Due to the location of this proposed market being on a public highway, a traffic regulation order needs to be put in place, which has a cost implication for this council.

“This is now a matter for negotiation between Middlewich Town Council and the artisan market operator.”

Despite initial concerns about how existing traders would be integrated into the experience, the artisan market has been largely welcomed.

Organiser Denise Valente added: “The three month trial in Middlewich has been heralded an enormous success by both the visitors to the market and the majority of businesses within the town.

“We would hope that the financial constraints and obstacles, imposed upon the town council by Cheshire East associated with its continuation, can be overcome and resolved so that the market may become a permanent feature on Middlewich’s calendar.”

There have been suggestions that a Council Tax rebate of £8,763 that was paid to the town council could be used to fund the market but this has yet to be discussed or agreed.

Town clerk Jonathan Williams said: “We understand the value of the market to the community and are working with all agencies to fund it in the future and keep it going.”

A Cheshire East spokesman added: “We are prepared to waive certain costs for community events which have no commercial element. However, this specialist market is run by a profit-making organisation meaning we are unable to in this case.”


MIDDLEWICH’S MP is among the keen supporters of the town’s artisan market.

Fiona Bruce said: “This is the kind of community event which brings people together and adds so much to the quality of life of a town and deserves all the support it can get, including from the local councils.

“It was great to see representatives from Middlewich Town Council at the market doing their usual great job in this respect.”

Trader Frances Cowper added: “It’s been an eye-opener how many people it’s brought into the town. It’s been so good for Middlewich.”