LAST August saw a new dawn at Gloucester Green market when the city council handed its day-to-day running over to two private firms.

One year on traders have said they are happy with the £200,000 worth of improvements made, including the new covered stalls.

LSD Promotions took over the running of the market along with Geraud UK, the largest operator of local authority markets in Europe.

Traders at the market, which trades on Wednesdays and Thursdays, said the investment has been well worth it.

Gary Merrill, who sells historic maps from his stall, has been trading there for two years.

He said: “The new stalls are a big improvement.

“You can’t really fault the market company. Our market traders association met with them in February and they asked how it had been and what they could do to make it better.

“We said things like promotion and they put out flyers and signs.

“Footfall isn’t up, but there seems to have been fewer tourists this year and who knows why that is.”

Peter Forbes, who has been running his brass stall at the market for 24 years, said he is also pleased with the changes.

He said: “I’ve seen a big improvement. The tents are far better, we don’t get wet when it rains. The people who run it now are very nice, we have no complaints.

“I have my loyal customers and I wanted to stay in the same place and the market company let me stay.

“Trade has been the same but the infrastructure, mainly the tents, is much better.

“We don’t have water running down our necks now when it rains. They have listened to our concerns.”

The market was being subsidised by Oxford City Council to the tune of about £80,000 a year before being sold.

Figures are not available for how much money it is now making, but at another market taken over by Geraud and LSD there was a marked improvement within a year.

Stratford-upon-Avon Market only had 40 trading stalls when it was taken over but by August last year had 63.

LSD managing director Dermot McGillicuddy, said: “There has not been one negative comment about the market in eight months. At the beginning some people were a bit unsure but it has gone well.

“We have spent £200,000, much of it on new equipment.

“We have gone for state of the art stalls – instant marquee pop-ups they’re called – which will withstand literally anything the market decides to throw at us. The old stalls weren’t covered and for the antiques people they used to be a nightmare when it rained. We have spent quite a significant amount on promotion as well.”

Mr McGillicudy said: “Investment so far has been in the region of £200,000 but we are not finished spending quite yet.”

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