Giving Swaffham markets the X factor

A NEW �35,000 project is moving ahead to put Swaffham's markets back on the map.

A NEW �35,000 project is moving ahead to put Swaffham's markets back on the map.

A partnership is being set up bringing together a range of groups in the town to attract more stalls to the long-standing Saturday market, bring back an auctioneer, re-introduce a farmers' market and also have a series of themed markets.

The initiative will also highlight Swaffham's history of successful markets and also promote the Friday morning indoor market and the regular antique fairs at the Ecotech centre.

Breckland's Local Strategic Partnership has agreed to give �10,500 towards the Swaffham's Market Traditions project.

Town clerk Richard Bishop told LSP members: 'Our market is central to the way the town should develop. It is important for the traders in the town and it is important for the visitors and it is important for the people who live in the town.'

He said the market had been through a tough time but there were efforts to regenerate it.

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'It would help us give it the X factor and put it back on the map. There would be the impetus to attract more traders and attract more people to the market.'

Iceni Partnership chairman Tony Dickens said they were 'really enthusiastic' about the project.

'There is terrific potential,' he said.

A report on the Swaffham's Market Traditions project said: 'Swaffham's identity is closely bound up with its Saturday market, which for many years has been renowned throughout and beyond the town for its auction and livestock market. However, in common with many other towns, Swaffham has witnessed a decline in the size and scope of its main market.'

The report said it was affecting the perception of the prosperity of the town and also the different markets were operating in 'relative isolation.'

'There is an opportunity to create a 'markets brand' for the town which draws together and jointly promotes these various styles of market and fair. The overall objective will be to create a brand that promotes Swaffham as a quintessential market town thus demonstrating that a town with a tradition of markets can simultaneously market its tradition.'