They are being touted as the vibrant cure for Britain’s struggling High Streets. But as City investors look to capture the buzz generated by street markets, there are wider fears that they are in fact in dramatic decline – and can be expensive for council tax payers.
‘Queen of shops’ Mary Portas – the Government’s High Street tsar – has hailed street markets as ‘a fantastic way to bring a town to life’. On the back of her report, an eager Department for Business has rushed to launch pilot schemes to encourage the creation of street markets across the country.
The City clearly shares that enthusiasm, with a string of property developers bringing forward plans to turn markets into big business.
The Urban Market Company, a new enterprise backed by private equity firm Brockton Capital, is closing in this weekend on buying five plots of land across the country to take the magic of Camden Market in north London to the rest of Britain.
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