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Market Toolkit

What is required to get a market started?


Market Toolkit image

We have a goal to create easier visibility and accessibility to local markets throughout our region. Markets play vital roles within our towns and parishes whilst creating community spirit and encouraging small-scale business growth.

There are endless benefits to local markets but we recognise the many challenges which can be posed when starting anything new. Our toolkit is here to support local towns and parishes that harbour any desire to begin planning a new local market, and we really want to hear from anyone in this position.

Before starting any market, it is advised that a Community Consultation process is carried out. This can be done in a number of ways and is there to help establish the demand and expectations for your market.

A common method for measuring public reception to a market is through an online survey, like Microsoft Forms or Surveymonkey. These are an effective tool in asking for general feedback to give you a better understanding on how you need to move forward. Alternatively, you may prefer to collect feedback at local community events. Gaining support for your market in a public space may be a more effective way to determine how much engagement there is. Reaching out to your local Parish Councillor to arrange something similar may also be an option.

During this process, you also may want to research what status you want your market to move forward under. Markets can opt to apply for a charitable status that presents more options and opportunities. Information on how to set up your charity and what to include in your survey can be beneficial to your research.

In the event you don't feel a consultation is required, starting a market organically may be your preferred route. However, it should be recognised, there may be tasks to undertake including assigning various positions to volunteers or submitting applications for funding.

Traditionally, markets are associated with outdoor venues such as green spaces, village commons or facilities for public use, like those attached to churches or other community buildings.

Large car park spaces and local village halls, where available, can often be the perfect location for markets.

Other hard-standing areas like local school playgrounds or wider pedestrianised sections of pavements can also be used. This may be easier in the long run as you don't have to factor in road closures with highways licenses and permits.

Indoor event venues must be accessible to all visitors and will require permissions. Across South Cambridgeshire, village halls are often used to accommodate markets, especially in bad weather.

If you would like to use your local village hall or community centre [PDF, 0.2MB], contact them for more information on how to do this.

Village halls are usually used for community-related events or gatherings. More recently, across South Cambridgeshire they have also acted as spaces for temporary trading. Events like Repair Cafés where voluntary organisations such as Cambridge Carbon Footprint attend are becoming more popular. There are many of these popping up across the district, each one run by volunteers and trading at least twice most months in the Cambridgeshire and Royston region.

If you are interested in using your village as a Repair Café venue, look at our reducing waste pages for additional tips and information on reducing, reusing and repairing.

Facilities used for a market or other events may require certain permissions and in the event that land is needed too, requests may need to be approved. With relation to any relevant permissions, please ensure to: 

  • Obtain any permissions in writing where possible
  • Consider insurance costs and who will be liable if accidents/injuries unfortunately occur
  • Consider the potential cost to lease land and/or facilities

Additionally, it is key to recognise your market should accommodate everyone. At times, this may include certain individual requirements as well. When looking for a suitable venue, it is best to consider:

  • Facilities available in the venue (for example, village hall kitchens)
  • Car parking (for visitors, extended market space and traders - loading/unloading vehicles)
  • Toilets
  • Power supplies (for traders and lighting if your market is held in hours of darkness)
  • Disability access (for example, ramp to get in, lift to three floors, disabled toilets)
  • Water availability
  • Secure storage space for market stall/marquees

Markets can carry one particular theme or can be a healthy mix of many - that's the beauty of them!

Seeing a range of local independent businesses all being promoted in one marketplace is usually very common, however, markets can be instead specifically targeted at one theme too. Beyond the typical range of products you might find at a market, we are now seeing more range in market themes as well. For example, eco-friendly and sustainable-focused marketplaces, vegan food fares, craft guilds and even coffee festivals.

When starting your market, it is a good idea to think about what theme you wish to take on. It could perhaps be one of the following:

  • General market - selling a range of household products, gardening equipment, clothes and accessories etc
  • Farmer's market - offering fresh goods and groceries such as fruits, locally sourced vegetables, fresh bread, meat, fish, honey, eggs etc
  • Food market - promoting food trucks and mobile caterers from the district with a range of different cuisines and flavours
  • Craft/textiles market - handcrafted items such as glasswork or woodwork

With any market, there are different types of street trading consent policies in place and it is the responsibility of the market organiser to ensure traders are registered with us.

Your stallholders may also, depending on your market type and disposition, contribute to its running by paying a pitch fee or a small sum towards a charitable cause. In South Cambridgeshire pitch fees range between £5 and £25. Costs can depend on guaranteed market footfall or how long the market has been running or community markets may have a different way of operating by not demanding a pitch fee but taking a percentage of the overall takings.

After successfully choosing what type of market you'd like to run and identifying the positive community benefits, the next step may be to examine how you can enhance or improve it over time. For example, turning to sources of funding may help you run your business long term. More information is available online by visiting Grant Finder, which can be used to identify possible means of funding. You can also contact to ask if support is available.

It is worth considering who is being tasked with your market. There are several choices including:

  • Community led
  • Your Parish Council
  • Your Town Council
  • Your District Council
  • A private enterprise

You also need to think about whether it will be run by paid staff (for example a market manager and assisting support staff) or by local volunteers. If your aim is to solely benefit the community around you, learning more on Community Interest Companies (CICs) might be worthwhile as this offers more flexibility away from charitable status guidelines.

Alternatively, joining a network of likeminded market stallholders is also an option. As seen with some of our district markets, Country Markets have assisted in creating and assembling market communities.

When starting a new market, we are able to support and guide people in the right direction. We have previously worked with community groups and event organisers on a raft of different topics, so we understand the groundwork required for anyone beginning this task.

We can assist with planning and signposting resources and advising on other services. This gives market organisers more ways of networking. Here are some key services we liaise with already:

Another question any market will ask itself is how often it will run and for how long during the course of the day?

Simply, it can be as often or as occasional as you want but gauging the local demand and appetite for your market may dictate its frequency. South Cambridgeshire's existing markets range from being every week to once per year, but you may wish to consider having yours:

  • Daily
  • Weekly (perhaps twice per week, once on a weekday and then on a weekend)
  • Monthly (the first or third Saturday of each month is commonly used)
  • Seasonal (for example, a Christmas Market or outdoor summertime event)

As for trading hours, it is commonplace to have between two and three hours, perhaps from late morning to early afternoon. However, this can range too:

  • Morning (for example, 8:30am to 11:30am)
  • Afternoon (for example, 12pm to 3pm)
  • Evening: (for example, 5:30pm to 7:30pm, perhaps an event attracting mobile caterers to a village hall or an approved consented premises)
  • All day

Many market stallholders now opt to use contactless terminals as fewer people now carry notes and coins. We recognise budding stallholders may need more information on this subject, so please take a look at our guidance document on taking payments at markets [PDF, 89Kb]

When organising and operating a market stall/event, health and safety is very important. There may be risks to the public and it is the responsibility of stallholders and organisers to be informed of and comply with health and safety legislation.

Failing to follow particular requirements set out in legislation and/or guidance may be viewed as a breach of a licence agreement to trade at your market. It is important to consider the following when organising a market or attending as a stall holder:

  • Risk assessments – identify the hazards, assess the risk (how likely is it that someone could be harmed and how seriously); identify what control measures you already have in place, and whether any further controls are needed. Be sure to document the findings and review them regularly. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have useful guidance regarding risk assessments, with template and example risk assessments.
  • Site management - for example, thinking about different hazards that may occur around the market side such as the impact of moving vehicles in possibly confined spaces such as car parks.
  • Fire safety checks - for example, does the market site comply with current fire regulations and have a fire risk assessment?
  • LPG checks (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) - a stallholder using LPG at your market will need have had it inspected by a Gas Safe Register engineer. As a market organiser, evidence of this could be a condition of trading. Furthermore, the strategic placement of stallholders away from higher risk areas on site needs to be considered. More information can be found with The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  • Noise and light compliance - for example, will running a market disturb nearby residential neighbours or businesses - consent or at the very least notice should be given in this instance.
  • Weather forecasting for outdoor events - for example, putting preventive measures in place to prevents slips and trips, as well as bracing against strong winds with sturdy equipment and gazebos.
  • First Aid - for example, having qualified individuals on site and the necessary in date equipment and whether your facility / location has a First Aid Kit. For larger scale market events, you may consider using a qualified voluntary service like St John Ambulance.
  • Slips, trips and spills can occur at market events, so it is advisable to have procedures to reduce these risks such as having spill kits available, absorbent material to soak up any liquids or having spill resistant matting laid in front of food / drink stalls. Ensure all wires, cabling and other trip hazards are removed from public walkways.

Organisers and traders are recommended to understand and recognise all of the above and how to navigate any potential incident that occurs. 

As well as this, adhering to other local legislation may be required too. Councils and local authorities may need to see evidence of:

  • Public Liability Insurance and accidental damage cover.
  • Registration of  food vendors with a local authority (for example, are they registered with their local authority and have they been provided with a national food hygiene rating scheme score 0-5).
  • Stallholders' commitment to being Trading Standards compliant.
  • Temporary Events Notice (for example if selling alcohol and there is organised entertainment at your event).
  • Depending on the market size and how many people are expected to attend, there may be certain risks posed that require the approval or attendance of a Safety Advisory Group.
  • Intentions to close public roads to host a market will require a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO applications need to be made to Cambridgeshire County Council).

In the event your market traders specialise in edible goods, keeping food safe, appropriately labelled and fresh is a crucial aspect to consider. Guidance on food hygiene and allergen labelling requirements can be found on the Food Standards Agency website.

Waste collection is also something to consider for your market. We partner with The Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Commercial team to provide first-rate waste disposal and recycling services seven days a week. All waste is taken to their depot in Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire for treatment and sortation before being appropriately disposed. Their goal is to minimise your waste in the cleanest and greenest manner possible.

For additional information, do visit their website or alternatively reach out by contacting or calling 01954 713496.

Our own Environmental Health team are an additional resource to use for health and safety regulation.

More guidance can be found in ‘The Purple Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare and Music and Other Events.’ Despite being focused on far larger scale events - those involving several hundred or more - it does provide a forum for details around market and event safety, insurance and crowd management.

LOT 25 - Willingham Auctions

Bread Rampton

Working with businesses interested in starting newfound markets led to Lot 25, Willingham Auctions approaching the Council.

This business was keen to test their venue's ability to run their very popular Auctions Café alongside hosting a pop-up market, so initially a High Street Business Support Officer met with Lot 25 to speak about the level of assistance they required.

It became clear their team needed guidance contacting stallholders, so they used our strong list of traders across the district. This partnership quickly and effectively produced a list of several skilled and local artisan stallholders and the uptake to attend Lot 25’s event was excellent.

The market went ahead in early June 2022 as planned and had approximately 10 stallholders in attendance. Raised in Rampton, Jam Bear & Be, Kettle Leaf, Bebe & Ju Crafts, Ticketyboo Home Fragrance and others featured in a fantastic line-up. Public turnout was very good and many enjoyed the variety of produce on offer.

Lot 25's successful market all came together perfectly. A combination of great weather and popularity in the existing auction house and tearooms added to the overall success.

If you believe your business would benefit from a market or similar community event, please get in touch by contacting

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