Back our campaign to keep Norwich market thriving
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
It's survived plagues, fires, wars, supermarkets and internet shopping, and still it stands proudly nearly a millennium after its humble beginnings.
Although Norwich Market has changed with the times – and faced periods of uncertainty – its colourful striped roofs are now an iconic part of the city centre.
But the market can only continue to thrive if people back the traders on their doorstep.
That's why the Evening News today launches our Get Behind Your Market campaign, to encourage everyone to support the market, so it can carry on for many years to come.
Announcing the campaign, David Powles, editor of the Evening News, said: 'Norwich is lucky that it still has such a vibrant market and people should be very proud of it. We hope that people will support our campaign to ensure that it can continue to thrive for many, many more years to come.'
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Stallholder Mark Wright has run Taxi Vintage, near the memorial gardens, for five years.
He threw his support behind the campaign and said: 'The first thing people need to remember is the money isn't going into a management trust fund, it stays in Norwich and it stays with Norwich people.
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'Number two, it's something the people of Norwich should be proud of, there are things on here you can't get on the high street.'
Mr Wright – who is also chairman of the Norwich Market Traders' Association – said there had been a lot of work done by Norwich City Council to boost the profile of the market.
It comes after a survey and extensive consultation, in which the council asked the public what they wanted the market's future to look like.
The survey found 'people everywhere value the market and feel it has a crucial and unique place in Norwich' and an overwhelming 92pc felt it was an important part of the city.
The result was a 10-year plan aiming to boost the profile of the vibrant destination, and look forward while remembering the past.
In the plan, the impact shopping with local traders has on our economy was made clear. It said: 'As in many areas the trader is a local resident dealing with local shoppers; this has a beneficial impact on the local economy. For every £1 spent by a local person with a local trader, that £1 will be worth about £1.70 to the local economy.
'If that local trader then spends it with another local business, that £1 will then be worth around £2.20.
'Spend that £1 with a multi-national company then it has a value of about £0.22 to the local economy.'
There are 192 units on the market and the strategy found if the market was fully let it would bring an extra £15m into the economy.
At the moment, 39 stalls are vacant or have been surrendered. A further 14 units are under offer.
With this occupancy level, it's estimated the market adds around £8m to £10m to our economy.
Mr Wright, 47, from Old Catton, added: 'It's a really exciting time, we've got lots of new people coming on and it looks cleaner than it ever has.'
One of the new traders is Ron Fyfe, whose stall Sixth Scents specialises in unique handmade scented stones and organic incense sticks.
Mr Fyfe had a lot of choice when he decided to move from Surrey Street Market, in Croydon, but fell in love with Norwich.
'The first time I came to Norwich I thought it had a nice feel, everyone is nice,' said the 56-year-old, who moved in two weeks ago.
'This market has a lot of potential.'
But it's not just the traders who want the market to prosper. Phoebe Heaton, 22, from Norwich, bought some incense sticks from Sixth Scents, she said: 'Every time I need incense now I'll come here.'
You can get behind our campaign by tweeting @EveningNews with the hashtag #NorwichMarket, or visiting the Norwich Evening News Facebook page. Get in contact and tell us why you love the market and send us your photos of items you have purchased.
Do you have an interesting memories of the market? Email firstname.lastname@example.org