Page 5 - MarketTimesFebruary2020
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FEATURE • EPSOM 5
 Epsom market is on the right track following a multi- million pound renovation. Nicola Gould visits a warm, friendly market where the traders are looking forward to a brighter future
 The new-look Epsom Market is fast approaching the finishing line following a £2.5 million refurbish- ment of the Market Place. It has been tough going for the traders who have had to relocate across the market footprint while the work has been carried out.
But now the finishing touches are being put in place, the loyal traders are looking forward to better times, and new traders are lining up to join an expanding market.
Epsom is best known for its world- famous horse-racing and for Epsom salts. But it’s the market that is probably most
important to the people who live in this well-heeled Surrey town close to London.
It traces its roots back to a charter granted to the Lady of the Manor in 1685. Centuries ago the hustle and bustle was centred on Church Street and today’s
Market Place was a large pond surrounded by rural buildings. It was filled in during the 1890s to create a space for public events, but for some reason the market had disappeared by then.
The council had the good sense to revive it in 1914, but as traffic increased and the road was widened the market place dwindled in area. For many years it was held in the centre of the road with traffic on both sides.
The opening of the Ashley Centre shopping mall in 1984 brought an improved road layout and the proper Market Place was reintroduced in 1991.
Run by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, the market has thrived ever since despite changing shopping habits. It’s a smallish, friendly, traditional market that sets up stall every Thursday and Saturday.
The traders are a professional, hard- working bunch whose offer matches the upmarket demographic.
There is a quality pitching butcher who travels from Birmingham to stand the market, a trader selling top quality plants and flowers, a couple of fruit and veg stalls with colourful flashes, a traditional egg stall that has ventured into locally made jams and preserves, a long- established ladies fashion stall and quite a bit more.
Ian Dyer, the council’s head of operations, is the man who was tasked with delivering the renovation programme, the first major public realm investment in the heart of Epsom for more than 20 years.
Ian understands markets well. His first job was working on a fruit and veg stall at
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