IT IS the Hampshire market that is on the move in every sense of the word.

Hythe’s weekly Tuesday market opened for business in the heart of the village for the first time yesterday, having left behind its previous based in St John’s Street car park.

Double the usual number of stalls lined St John’s Street and High Street as visitors and locals browsed new products as well as the more well-established stalls – some of which have been selling for nearly 30 years.

Organiser Southern Market Traders had 25 stalls yesterday and plan to expand it to 35.

Director Paul Lewis said: “It’s about getting a bit of hustle and bustle back into the town. The plan is to have even more stalls but we have to be careful and keep the independent shop owners on side.

“We’re trying to work with the shops so that it’s an overall shopping experience – so people come to the market and to the shops.

“It had declined in the car park as all car park markets do – they’re for cars not markets.

“The council has been very supportive. We’ve been planning it for a year.”

Helen Bradley-Owers, parish development officer at Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, added: “It’s gone really well. We’ve been running the vintage markets for three years so we know the basic layout is right and for the first one it’s been spot on.

“The thing I’m most pleased about is that we’ve got lots of little local cottage industries selling products. It’s nice to see and we hope the market will help develop local businesses.

“It’s definitely busier – people were driving round the car park trying to find a space. I’d like to hear people complaining they can’t get spaces in the car park.

“It’s not just about the market, it’s about trying to develop Hythe as a visitor destination. Markets aren’t just about fruit and veg – people want a nice experience, the opportunity to wander round and go for a walk along the front. It’s about giving people a day out that’s right on their doorstep. It’s a lifestyle experience rather than just selling cheap tat.”

Fruit and vegetables trader Wayne Bellows, 51, whose family has been in the market trade for five generations said: “I’d sold out of strawberries and raspberries by 11am. It’s hard but there’s still a living to be had if you do it right and give customers what they want.”