Romsey’s market will be run by the town council from next April.
A new five-year licence has been agreed between Romsey Town Council and Broadlands Estates, who hold the rights to the market thanks to “letters of patent” bestowed by King Henry VIII.
Romsey’s mayor, Peter Hurst said: “Our aim is to grow the market for the benefit of the town. We intend to ensure significant proportion of the profits will be ploughed back into improving the market still further.”
Town centre manager, Mark Edgerley, who will be the market manager, said that the council were seeking to expand the market and offer a wider range of stalls and organise more one-off specialist markets.
Stalls and canopies would be refurbished and replaced in April, but there were no plans to raise stallholders’ rents, he said.
Nor were there any plans to change the market days of Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
Mr Edgerley said the market had a vital role to play in Romsey’s economic future by increasing footfall in the town.“Romsey’s a market town and should be promoted as such,” he said.
The market could also help as a starting point for retail businesses.
Mr Edgerley said the council were planning to offer short-term starter stalls for new businesses at low rents. If the businesses took off, they could eventually move into the town’s vacant shop premises.
Bradbeers department store has run the market since it took over and refurbished old Dolphin Hotel site 14 years ago and will continue to do so until April, 2015.
Richard Jordan-Baker, Broadlands estates manager, said: “I would like to thank Bradbeers for all their hard work over the past 14 years. We are very grateful for their professionalism and commitment, but also for giving us a tremendous platform on which to build for the future.”