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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Indoor market plan for Maryport's old Carlton cinema

Maryport could have its own indoor market by the end of the year.

Steve Wood photo
Steve Wood

The owner of the Carlton in the town has revealed plans to turn the ground flood of the former cinema into a colourful market.

Steve Wood wants to offer affordable rents to stallholders who will sell items which aren’t readily available in the town such as fresh fish, poultry, old fashioned sweets and women’s lingerie.

Mr Wood would also stock his own pottery on the market, which would offer three month renewable leases.

“What is crushing a lot of businesses is the rents being charged,” he said. “If I can offer affordable rates and not tie people into long contracts they will be able to come and see how it works out and decide whether to carry on.

“I am thinking of having them (the stalls) all different colours like the beach huts at Southwold, for instance.”

He vowed not to turn his back on Maryport or the Carlton after some traumatic years which saw him liquidating part of his business.

“Since I came here four years ago we have had two recessions and a lot of pottery firms have gone out of business including some big names,” he said.

“I’ve gone from a staff of 15 to two and am now back where I started - decorating and glazing pottery. We are no longer manufacturing it on the premises.

“I still have some prestigious clients including Historic Scotland and the Royal Yacht Britannia so I will continue the business in the Carlton.”

He said his major trial was when, just four months after the Carlton had been completely renovated and he had opened a creative cafe, dry rot was found in the ground floor.

He had to close the cafe immediately for health and safety reasons and eventually had to liquidate that part of the business.

Mr Wood is also looking at turning the upper floors into maisonettes, one with two bedrooms and two with one large bedroom.

If the indoor market takes off, Mr Wood will close his Cockermouth shop and sell his porcelain and china from the Carlton.

“I really believe we can make a go of an indoor market,” he said. “Maryport people are loyal to Maryport when they can be. If we can provide what they want they will shop here and that will be good for everyone.”

There would also be a cafe in the building and as well as trying to attract new stall holders existing businesses in the town which would want to see through the market would be welcomed.

Contact Mr Wood by email at steve@vip-collection.co.uk.

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