Successful 'super market' could become permanent attraction in Frome
The giant outdoor market that took over Frome town centre on several Sundays last year is set to become a permanent monthly feature.
Frome Town Council has revealed ambitious plans to make the Frome Super Market a regular monthly fixture – taking place on the first Sunday of the month, between June and Christmas.
The Frome Super Market proved hugely success when it was first launched in 2012 – attracting thousands of shoppers to the town.
Before a June launch date can be pencilled in for its relaunch, the town council must first get approval from Mendip District Council as it holds the market charter.
Peter Wheelhouse, Frome Town Council's economic development and regeneration manager, said the Frome Super Market is one of the town's big success stories.
He said: "It dramatically increased visits to Frome, showing people what we have to offer. The response and feedback we've had from local businesses shows it has helped to boost the local economy and establish Frome as a tourist destination. We're confident Mendip District Council will back us on continuing to develop on this success.
"We believe that there would also be benefits to the Wednesday and Saturday markets on the back of investment in the Frome Super Market.
"In running the Sunday market, one of our aims would be to enable people to try out market trading for the first time. We hope this will deliver spin-offs for the Wednesday and Saturday markets as some of the new traders may wish to trade on those days as well."
At last week's full council meeting, proposals were put forward to make the market a company limited by guarantee.
There was also a recommendation to employ a market co-ordinator and a children's market was also another idea put forward in a report to the council.
Councillor Damon Hooton requested the decision on the proposals be deferred as district councillor Adam Boyden had told him concerns had been raised by district councillors and he wanted to discuss it before a decision was made.
Council leader Mel Usher said: "Mendip District Council are not that helpful on many subjects, negotiations have been going on for months, now here we are with someone saying they want to talk some more.
"We don't want this delayed and postponed because MDC want to get their hands in our pockets.
"We should be sending them a strong message.
"The market has been fantastic for the town, it's forward thinking and ambitious."
Councillor Nick White agreed and said he felt the town council was doing all the donkey work for little reward.
Concerns were also raised about the market charter and whether it covers the Sunday market.
Councillor Adrian Dobinson said he has asked the district council many times to see the charter but said he was told by officers it had been lost.
A district council spokeswoman said: "Mendip District Council operates the markets in Frome in accordance with The Frome Market Act 1874 under which it has powers to establish, maintain and regulate markets and fairs.
"The powers, rights and privileges of much earlier market charters such at the Frome Market Charter granted by King Henry VII in 1493 were conveyed to the Company formed under the 1874 Act and the district council is the direct successor to that company. The district council holds a copy of the 1874 Act and subsequent conveyance.
"The details and fees of the market are regularly updated by the council in order for the legislation to stay relevant and in line with current trends.
"A copy of this act is retained by Mendip District Council and the original is housed by Somerset Archive and Record Service in Taunton."