Three months after failing to attract any bidders, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough is set to re-release the tender for the management of Portadown town market.
Following discussions of the matter at a meeting of Council’s economic development and regeneration committee on Tuesday, September 14 a Council spokesperson told the local democracy reporting service the tender will be advertised the week ending Friday, October 8.
“The tender will be advertised until Friday, October 29 and Council would ideally like to have an operator in place by January 1, 2022, subject to statutory approvals,” said a Council spokesperson.
“Once the tender has been advertised, interested parties will be able to apply through the eTenders NI portal.”
During the committee meeting, members were provided with an update on the regeneration of Portadown town centre and the role a high quality local market will play in this.
They were advised that following Council’s decision to bring its service level agreement with the market’s former operator, Portadown 2000, to an end, five expressions of interest were received from parties interested in operating and managing a market in the town.
Following a public consultation a tender was advertised on Friday, May 21 and closed on Friday, June 4, no tenders were received as part of the procurement process.
Since then, Council has been in ongoing consultation with traders in Portadown to reassure them of Council’s plans to locate the market in a section of the Magowan West car park.
It is understood Council is keen to see the market operate two times a week with optional daytime or evening operational times.
Commenting on the report, Councillor Lavelle McIlwrath asked if Council had consulted with the former market’s traders.
Council’s head of regeneration, Nicola Wilson said Council has had a “busy summer” talking to traders and businesses through its consultation hub but had not been involved in direct consultation with the previous market’s traders.
“In relation to the consultation with the existing market traders, we have not done that as we did not think it was an appropriate thing to do,” said Ms Wilson.
“They are looking for a covered market space and that is not something we are going to be able to provide for them.
“We have spoken to a lot of the town’s traders and a lot of the traders along Woodhouse Street as well to clarify what we really want.
“We will soon be in a position to go out with a tender that is more precise and detailed, I think that was probably one of the stumbling blocks in our first attempt to get a market provider in.
“We are looking for an appropriate organisation to come in and provide the market service and that agent will be the one that will be liaising with the markets traders to try to develop what they need within the offering they have.”