Farmers market to open in Bath Road
A LANDMARK shop in Leckhampton, which has stood empty for most of the past two years, will be open for business again next month.
Bath Road Market will open three-days-a-week on the former Robert Young site near the Norwood roundabout.
Entrepreneur Adam Nicholson will be leasing space to stall-holders selling items including handmade crafts and homemade food.
Mr Nicholson, of Leckhampton Hill, said: "The whole ethic of the thing is that it's returning shopping to what it used to be.
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"We want to be the kind of market that gives people the things they need, close to where they live.
"People who want to sell products can book a space in advance and hopefully we will have a good mix, but at the moment it has been more about managing demand.
"We kept on driving past and having ideas about what could be done with the shop, then we came up with this one and thought we should just go for it."
The building will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with up to 40 stalls in place, but no two will sell the same product.
But the 40-year-old hopes community groups may take slots during the week.
News of the takeover came as a boost to nearby shopkeepers, who hope it will increase footfall in the surrounding area
Bath Road Traders Association chairwoman Lizzie Smith said: "We are all in full support of what Adam is doing and he met with the traders a couple of months ago and we gave him our backing.
"No empty unit is good for a road and it's good that it will be filled.
"We think it suits well with the Bath Road and the other shops we have here."
The shop is owned by Paul Artus, owner of Dawn Nurseries, who leases it to Mr Nicholson.
Mr Artus bought the shop from his brother Colin, who ran Robert Young, green grocers and florist there until October 2009.
It has been empty since then, apart from a short period in the winter when it opened as a Christmas market.
Robert Young, the trading name of Artus Whitfield Ltd, was wound up in October 2009, owing money to 84 businesses.
A month after the closure, Colin Artus, who co-owned the business with his brother, John, started a new business next door to the site, which is still running. Speaking at the time, Colin said he could not afford to compete with supermarkets and other chain stores without better support from banks. The new shop will open with a special event on September 3.