Gosport high street market is to be revamped – with more stalls, entertainment and special themed events.

The market, which runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays, will keep its current stallholders. But a new operator has been brought in by Gosport Borough Council. With the aim of bringing in more traders, boosting the market’s popularity and introducing new ideas.

The new operator, local company Nest and Anchor Events, already runs markets at the Cams Estate in Fareham. As well as stalls, these include entertainment, food and drink.

The first special event scheduled for Gosport is a festive heritage market in conjunction with the council’s Christmas lights switch-on, on Saturday 25 November.

Nest and Anchor Events have an initial eight-month contract, and are planning more special markets next year.

The new operator will work with town centre businesses and local arts and craft producers with the goal of boosting activity in the area. Temporary seating would be set up for people enjoying entertainment.

Tom Mountford, of Nest and Anchor Events, said: “Our vision is to bring back the thriving community that the markets used to bring to the local area, while highlighting local independent businesses and supporting charities important to the local community.

“We have always aimed at providing more than just a market, by offering live music and local entertainment, food vendors and bars serving alcoholic and soft drinks, as well as 40-plus traders offering products ranging from bespoke jewellery to sweet treats and cakes.

“After the Christmas event, future special markets will range from spring artisan markets to themed Easter markets, all with their own range of activities, entertainment and food and drink. We also plan an event especially for local young people.”

This month also sees the recruitment of a new town centre regeneration manager by the council. Donna Moore, previously a project support manager with the Guinness Partnership housing association, is a local resident and a former council housing officer.

She will work to revitalise the town centre and High Street, aiming to increase the number of visitors and shoppers, reduce the number of empty shops and introduce improvements. Overseeing the market will be a key part of the role.

The council has been working to breathe new life into the town centre, with several projects under the umbrella of the High Street Heritage Action Zone, led by Historic England. This has seen historic shopfronts restored and colourful hand-painted shop signs installed. It has also seen the opening of the Imagination Refinery in the High Street – a base for local creative industries to showcase their work.

The council has also been running or supporting free events and entertainment in the town centre throughout the summer.

It has also supported a major renovation project at Gosport Museum and Art Gallery in the High Street.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn, Leader of the Council, said: “Town centres all over the country have been affected by financial uncertainty, the pandemic and the shift to online shopping. But we’re committed to bringing more activity and life to our High Street and surrounding areas. A revitalised market will be a major part of this effort. The work will benefit hugely from having a dedicated town centre regeneration manager in place.”