Page 36 - MarketTimesDecember2015
P. 36

Sandbach’s picturesque cobbles and half- timbered listed buildings are the perfect backdrop for a historic market. NICOLA GOULD discovers a market that deserves a bright future
     Sandbach’s historic market takes over the Cheshire town every Thursday, with green and white gazebos and stalls clustered around the town hall, across Scotch Common car park and spilling on to the cobbled market square.
And at its heart is the indoor market, a building attached to the town hall and converted into an indoor market in the 1960s.
The town was granted a market charter by Elizabeth l in 1572. The market traders demonstrated their fighting spirit on the day of the summer fair in 1651 when a band of Scottish cavalry men made the error of entering the town as they retreated from defeat at the Battle of Worcester.
The market traders and the people of
Sandbach attacked them, killing several and taking 100 prisoners. Ever since, the common that is the car park has been known as Scotch Common.
Today that fighting spirit, combined with a warm heart, sums up Sandbach market, as fish man, Alan Smith, explains.
“It’s a really great market with a very warm atmosphere and excellent traders,” said Alan, who is the NMTF branch Chairman.
And it’s hard to disagree. Sandbach is a picturesque, affluent town with a solid sense of identity, a good range of independent shops, eateries and pubs and free parking.
It’s an attractive town to visit, and the fact that the main market is one day a week makes it an event.
The market is well run by Sandbach Town Council, which has a vested interest in supporting and improving it.
Market manager Bob Nightingale said the market had previously been run by Congleton Borough Council, Cheshire East, a private operator, then Cheshire East again, before the town council took it over two years ago.
The council has invested in new canopies and lighting in the indoor market to brighten it up, and there has been some reconfiguration of gazebos, as well as extending the market on to the High Street behind the market hall and on to the cobbled area.
They are trying to attract new traders with incentives such as a rent-free week after eight weeks of trading, and helping existing traders
Bob Nightingale is market manager at Sandbach
Carole Ashley has started a new business in Sandbach's indoor market selling Argos returned items. Pallets of returned items can be bid for online

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