Interested parties are to be invited to bid for the chance to return Kendal’s indoor and outdoor markets to their flourishing best.
South Lakeland District Council’s Cabinet agreed to move to the next stage towards securing an experienced and accomplished organisation to manage the markets in Kendal after hearing they could be a major asset for the town.
A tender will now be issued for interested parties to bid for. The process will be open, fair and transparent and will ensure that best outcomes and value for money is achieved. A report will be brought back to Cabinet and it is hoped that a contract will be awarded later in the year.
Councillor Andrew Jarvis, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources, said the Kendal Market, for which SLDC holds the Charter, was not fully exploiting its potential and added: “This is an important opportunity to further improve the centre of Kendal and breathe new life into our historic markets and should be seen as an investment in the long-term future of the markets and Kendal town centre.”
Councillors had previously been told that a new operating model and management structure would be better suited for the market.
A report before the meeting detailed how interested parties agreed it was important that the outdoor market should work with key businesses around the town/market place to give people an experience when visiting the markets. They all agreed that the indoor market required a new, improved layout with enhanced café area which would encourage customers to spend longer in the market, while upgraded market units and stalls would help to attract new traders. It was felt that the indoor market could create an exciting space with more made of its features to improve shoppers’ experience.
Those who submitted expressions of interest also felt that it was important to retain the feel of a traditional market, but wanted to also add quirky or niche offers to compete with the high street/ internet. Works to the indoor market in particular would likely be over two to three years and they would look to include and consult with traders on their proposed vision.