A HISTORIC market, which was facing closure, is now thriving having trebled in size in just over a month.

And this could just be the start of bigger and better things to come according to Steve Bownes, who was appointed manager of the Tuesday Charter Market at the start of April.

Town councillors feared the market, which dates back about 400 years to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, could close due to a lack of interest.

The council appointed Mr Bownes as manager and now the number of regular weekly stalls has risen from four to 12.

Mr Bownes, who has run several markets, including the one at Church Stretton, has further ambitions for Ledbury.

He said he has the contacts to bring 300 new stallholders to Ledbury, if only there was enough room.

As it is, he plans to run a mega-market every month, with stalls from the Market House toTop Cross.

The first one ofthese would be a pilot, but he said: “The street wants it and the locals want it. Last Tuesday was the first time I’ve seen tourists come underneath the Market House and actually buy things.

“I want this market to thrive.”

Hat trader Clive Maddock said: “The location is great.

Underneath the Market House creates a great atmosphere for tourists and Steve is going to bring in more stall-holders, and so it is going well.”

Councillor Tony Bradford said this week: “It’s a new beginning and personally I would love to see our market becoming as successful as the one atLudlow.”

A party of town councillors went to Ludlow more than a year ago, to see what lessons could be learnt.

The Saturday Charter Market, in recent years, has been far more successful than the Tuesday market but now they are both attracting crowds.

Mr Bownes has only been appointed to run the Tuesday market.