THE Saturday markets are set to return in Wells and Frome- but the town council will not be running them.

When the markets in Wells and Frome were temporarily cancelled - as Mendip District Council staff were redeployed to help with the vaccination effort - Frome Town Council offered to step in and help.

But after a meeting last Friday (February 5), MDC decided there was no need for FTC to take over the running of the market. And on Monday (February 8), MDC decided to reopen the Saturday markets in Wells and Frome.

“There are a number of reasons, why we temporarily closed the market for a couple of weeks,” said a spokesperson for MDC.

“It’s a mix of footfall levels, public safety and staffing. There has been a call by Government and NHS professionals for this District Council to support the national need, fight Covid-19 and save lives.

“That has to be a priority. But we recognise sustaining the economy and supporting local people during the pandemic is also important. It’s a balancing act. We have been supporting the vaccination and testing programmes as well as keeping open the much-needed markets - on all weekdays at least.

“We can see that the success of the vaccine roll-out has brought back confidence in our communities. People are clearly keen to get out and shop.

“We promised we’d keep the matter under review and make a decision in early February, and that’s what we’ve done.

“Saturday markets are returning this weekend. The offering may be lighter to allow traders to source stock; however, we know they are chomping-at-the-bit to set up stall, and we know residents will return to them with great enthusiasm.”

MDC are also extending the outdoor market hours from 9am until 2pm (instead of finishing at 12pm). The markets take place in Glastonbury, Street, Shepton Mallet, Frome and Wells.

Leader of FTC, Anne Hills, was “dissapointed” the council were not successful in their bid to take over the market, but said it was “fantastic” to hear the Saturday market had been reinstated.

“I want to thank all those who got behind the campaign to get this important market back up and running,” she added.

“This is great news for the whole town – not only for the traders who have had their livelihoods impacted but for those who want a safe, outside shopping experience. My thanks go out to MDC who we have worked with extensively to get this reinstated, and to all staff who are working tirelessly with the vaccination programme. I want to thank Frome Chamber of Commerce for their support during the campaign.”

The Frome and Wells market will be open from this Saturday (February 13).