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Ambitious plans to boost historic Newry market in wake of ‘steady decline’ of city asset

Recommendations were approved this week to combine variety and artisan traders for a new weekly Saturday market from May

Newry Variety Market

Ambitious plans are in the pipeline for an historic Newry market as the local authority looks to boost footfall in the wake of a “steady decline” in the city centre asset.

Elected reps approved recommendations this week to combine variety and artisan traders for a new weekly Saturday market from May.

However, an extensive social media campaign by the council to revitalise market has received only one expression of interest, causing some concern in chambers.

Newry SDLP rep, Doire Finn said: “I am saddened that we have seen an overall decline in the Newry market.

“It’s important that we look to support such institutions that exist within our town centres and the traders and shoppers who come to the market rain or shine.

“I am concerned that our extensive social media campaign to find an associate partner only resulted in one application.

“The main thrust of this motion was to ensure we as a council do all we can in order to utilise this space that our market is. It’s an absolutely beautiful location and it is covered (roof area).”

She added: “We should be ambitious with the type of events that we can hold within this space, such as outdoor theatre, battle of the bands, outdoor craft fair or even a venue for after sports events such as the Newry 10k.

“These are just a few of the examples that we could look to hold.

“If we implement the actions of this report we could move forward to make sure our market becomes a hub of activity within our city.”

The market in Newry was once the main shopping location for the then town before the development of the two shopping centres of Buttercrane, in 1988, and The Quays a decade later.

Its central location is expected to see the generation of a greater footfall in years to come with the generation of the nearby Newry City Park at Albert Basin.

Mournes DUP rep, Henry Reilly added: “I remember when Newry market was absolutely heaving.

“It was not just a place to find a good bargain, but was also a place where young entrepreneurs would try out their goods, acting as a start up.

“I know of at least one major business, where the person who started up a pharmaceutical company started in Newry market. So, that shows the potential of the market.

“It is also a potential tourism attraction, as you would see across continental Europe, where people staying in hotels, would go to see the local produce at the local market place.

“I certainly think there is a massive potential for Newry market again in the future.”

A council report on the market was given in chambers, with an officer saying: “There has been a steady decline in income figures for the market since 2015.

“An expression of interest has been made from just one application despite an extensive social media campaign to revitalise the market. This application is under review.

“We are now in discussions to develop the artisan market with progress on a collaboration with traders of the variety market to incorporate on the weekly Saturday market from May.”

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