A FARMERS’ market is set to return to Basingstoke as part of plans to revitalise the Top of The Town.

Basingstoke and Deane Bor-ough Council is in negotiations with Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, a not-for-profit organisation, to bring a regular market to the area on the last Saturday of the month.

The market, which promotes and sells a wide range of produce from locally-based producers, stopped running in Basingstoke in 2008.

It could return to the town from the end of March, as part of the council’s Town Centre Programme, which is focusing on improving the Top of The Town and attracting more people to this area. Bringing more activities to Market Place and the surrounding streets is one of the proposals in this programme.

Hampshire producers would bring a range of fresh produce to Basingstoke Farmers’ Market, including meat, farm eggs, milk, butter, cheese, fresh fish, seasonal fruits and vegetables, bread, cakes, jams, pickles, plants and shrubs.

Councillor Ranil Jayawardena, borough council deputy leader, said: “There has been a market in Basingstoke for centuries. We are committed to preserving the heritage of Basingstoke’s historic heart while giving it a prosperous future.

“Local traders have told us that encouraging increased footfall would help grow their businesses. Buying direct from local producers is back in fashion, so this is a great opportunity to boost local businesses and help consolidate the Top of The Town’s role as the independent and specialist area of the town centre, complementing Festival Place and The Malls.

“Fundamentally, bringing more business into Basingstoke is good news for our town – for residents, visitors and existing traders.”

Hampshire Farmers’ Markets runs a number of markets in nearby locations, including Winchester, Andover and Alton. For more information, visit hampshirefarmersmarkets.co.uk.