Oswestry Markets Feasibility Study

In 2008 Oswestry Town Council commissioned R4C to carry out a feasibility study on the future development and operation of their traditional indoor and outdoor markets.

Oswestry is one of the principal market towns for Shropshire and has been developing its visitor market share over a number of years. The markets are becoming a major feature to the visitor offer for the town and studies have highlighted that the markets, both traditional and specialist are potentially major economic impact drivers for the visitor economy. Oswestry’s leaders are keen to develop this further. However, the infrastructure and accessibility of the area are in serious decline and steps need to be taken to ensure that the area is fit for modern day purpose to encourage the correct ambience for the discerning visitor.

National studies have shown that traditional markets are generally declining for low-price shopping, but have a developing role for local produce and market town tourism. Oswestry markets’ situation mirror these findings, as it has been declining and loss-making for some years. The farmer’s market and other specialist stalls and markets are seen as more successful and offering a way forward.

The study explored the potential future for Oswestry markets and the market hall, and consultations were carried out with traders, customers, town centre shoppers, local businesses and key informants. Findings included the discovery that a more central location could be important but is controversial and not favoured by customers. Stakeholders confirmed a strong sense of support for the markets and favoured revitalising them in their present position. Key factors in the potential future success included partnership working to position the markets alongside tourism, transport and other service areas in an integrated approach.

Plans were drawn up by our associates Scale2 Architects from Shrewsbury to outline how the market hall and outside stalls could look.

For more information about this study contact Helen Fairweather.

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You can download the article Do market towns need markets? by Helen Fairweather here