Ipswich market traders making plans for return after lockdown

Catchey's fruit and veg stall on Ipswich Market

Catchey's fruit and veg stall on Ipswich market should be back just after Easter. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

More Ipswich market traders are expected to return to the town centre just after Easter following the third national coronavirus lockdown.

Some market traders selling essential items, like food, have continued to operate during the current lockdown - but most have stayed away since the end of last year.

Young's Fish stall on Ipswich market

Some stalls like Young's Fish have continued to operate during the current lockdown. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The market's largest stall - Catchey's Fruit and Veg - is planning to return on April 8, just before non-essential shops are provisionally being allowed to reopen on April 12.

It sells essential goods but owner Mick Catchpole decided to suspend operations early in the new year, because there were so few customers.

There were also serious Covid outbreaks at the London wholesalers from where he buys his stock and he was not prepared to risk the health of his staff.

He said: "I've been going into the town centre to see how many people there are about.

"We're going back just before the official opening so we're up and running when people do all come back shopping - we'll see how we go."

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Once Catchey's has returned and non-essential retailers are able to reopen, it is expected that more traders will be back in Princes Street.

However, there is talk that there could be some changes to the layout to the market in the medium term.

Ipswich council has been talking to a restaurant chain about taking over the Old Post Office on the Cornhill.

This building has had market stalls next to it during the pre-Covid days - but it is understood the new tenants would want space outside to put up alfresco dining chairs and tables.

That could force a re-arrangement of the market stalls nearby, possibly moving them towards the Giles Circus area.

However, it is understood there are no plans to move the market to another part of the town centre.

However, any move could be some time off - negotiations about the future of the Old Post Office have been on the back-burner during the pandemic and no deal with any tenant is expected to be signed in the immediate future.

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