TRADERS cheered last night as Bromsgrove's Cabinet voted to bring the town's high street market back under council control.

The future of the market, which has been a feature of the town centre since the 1200s, was thrown into doubt in February, when external operator CJ Events announced it would end its contract in June.

Stall holders took the opportunity to voice their views, insisting the traders themselves should be allowed to run the market on the council's behalf, and Cllr Michael Thompson called for an emergency meeting to discuss bringing management of the market back in-house.

Portfolio holder for town centre development Cllr Karen May ordered an options appraisal from council officers to explore the best long-term solutions for the market's future.

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Two options - the first, finding a new external operator, and the second, managing the market in-house - were debated by members of the council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet last night (Wednesday, April 11).

Members voted unanimously in support of option two, which would involve the creation of a new council 'markets team'.

A report outlined estimated costs to council of up to £129k each year, and an income of up to £114k.

Speaking at the meeting, market trader Mr Sidhu suggested a, in which traders formed a co-operative to run the market and return profits to the council.

Mr Sidhu said: "My dad has been trading in Bromsgrove for 51 years. We wouldn't be so passionate and putting our reputation at stake if we didn't completely believe this will work.

"We don't want a profit. We just want a well-run market. We are committed to the cause."

He claimed the stall holders could generate £630 profit for the council each week.

Cllr Thompson described the traders as 'some of the most genuine and hardworking people I've ever met', adding: "The council ran the market five years ago. It can do it again."

Cllr Karen May said: "We are a market town.

"We were all clear on one thing - whatever else happened, we wanted our market kept vibrant and sustainable, three days a week in the town centre.

"This is an opportunity for us to make the market even better if we choose to take it.”

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Lorita Cornish, of Decanter Spirit, said: "Bromsgrove market is a good thing but it could be so much better, it could go from strength to strength.

"This is an opportunity for more specialised events, promoting Bromsgrove outside of Bromsgrove, brining specialist appeal to the market. The farmers market was a success – we could do more like that.”

A spokesman for Centre Flowers, which holds a stall on the high street, added: "The market brings people to the town. We’d be lost without it.”