Market Toolkit for Parish and Town Councils


This introductory toolkit acts as a guide for town and parish councils who are considering operating a local market. It provides an overview of a range of factors to consider, including market rights, market performance and market promotion.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

Markets have been around for over a thousand years and they contribute in many ways to local communities. They can come in all shapes and sizes but what is important is that your market meets the aspirations and needs of your local community.

This toolkit provides an introduction for town and parish councils who are considering delivering a local market. It explains that markets with a strong community focus can provide a number of significant benefits for towns and high streets, which include:

Economic Benefits

  • Provide a platform for small businesses to test trade in a low cost, low risk, supportive environment;
  • Help people gain work experience and new skills;
  • Keep money local

Environmental Benefits

  • Offer a localised space in which to shop on foot or by bike;
  • Increase opportunities for alternative food networks;
  • Decrease waste with less packaging.

Educational Benefits

  • Engage young people with food producers to supply more information about food origins and locations;
  • Give young people opportunity to learn new skills or be inspired by artisans and crafters;
  • Offer young people showcasing opportunities, whether this is for skills, school projects, or as a space to perform.

Health Benefits

  • Increase access to fresh, local, affordable food often in quantities more suited to the individual;
  • Raise awareness of the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle;
  • Foster a sense of well being and increase self-esteem.

Social Benefits

  • Offer a sociable place to shop;
  • Engage local people in community activities;
  • Raise awareness of, and meet local needs.

While many markets operate successfully on a weekly or periodic basis, there is increasing popularity in specialist markets which might include the following:

  • Art Market
  • Car Boot Sale
  • Craft Market
  • Farmers’ Market
  • Vintage Market
  • Youth Market

What might work in one location may not be successful in another so it is important that your market offer is kept under review and you consult with relevant stakeholders on a regular basis.