New era for Bognor’s seafront market

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A NEW operator plans to expand the seafront market in Bognor Regis.

Bray Associates took over the site on the Place St Maur last Thursday.

The company’s site manager, Les Stevens, said he expected business to increase quickly.

“I would expect to get another 20 traders at least in here,” he said. “That will give up to 50 pitches.

“This is a good time for markets.

“A lot of people are losing their jobs and want to start up in business.

“They can start with a small stall and move on to bigger ones.

“It’s also a good environment for students to learn how to run businesses.

“You soon find out all about people when you run a market stall.

“Charities might also want to set up a stall for which there will be no charge.”

The Portas Review into the state of high streets recommended markets had a leading role to play in ensuring their survival.

“People still love markets,” said Mr Stevens.

“They love the atmosphere of them, the shouting of the stall holders and the chance to browse among the stalls.”

Bray Associates was given the right to run the market until at least March 2014.

They also have the option of a another years extension by Arun District Council in spite of a late challenge by rival bidder Bognor Regis Town Council.

The market, which has been established in the town for some 30 years, has always been a popular attraction, and can be run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Mr Stevens said he had no plans to change the appearance of the stalls.

He was not concerned either by last month’s launch of a market in the town’s railway station.

Bray Associates runs markets such as those in Chichester, Havant and Waterlooville.