South Shields' historic market is set for a new lease of life with an exciting programme of events, entertainment and specialist stalls due soon.
The Market Square, which underwent a multi-million pound makeover last year, will soon host themed food, craft and farmers' markets as well as the popular traditional markets which run three days a week.
From April, South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes will be working in partnership with Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle to manage the market.
This will include growing the traditional markets by attracting new traders as well as hosting specialist markets and events to expand the visitor offer and drive footfall into the town centre.
The Market Square was refurbished as part of the South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan and now features a canopy roof around the perimeter of the trading area and landscaping features, including tree-lined borders as well as improved traffic management.
The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, opened on the Market Square in October last year and has already welcomed more than 150,000 visitors.
A new programme of markets and events will complement activities at The Word.
Councillor John Anglin, South Tyneside Council's Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy, said: "South Shields' proud tradition of market trading dates back more than two centuries and the market and its traders are a much-loved part of the fabric of our town.
"Thanks to the fabulous enhancements we've made, we now have a wonderful, modern civic space that lends itself to all kinds of activities.
"We're delighted to welcome Groundwork to join us on the next stage of the market's journey and look forward to seeing it flourish even further.
"With thousands of people a week flocking to The Word, the market is the perfect showcase for independent traders.
"In addition to the traditional markets, there will be more than 12 specialist markets a year, including food and crafts which will all complement events and activities being held at The Word and in the wider town."
The summer craft fairs previously held at Harton Quays will also now take place in the market and will run on the first Sunday of every month from June until October.
Andrew Watts, Executive Director of Groundwork South Tyneside and Newcastle, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes on developing the South Shields Market Square offer.
"There are natural synergies between us that provide a solid foundation for working together and we are excited to build on the great success of the craft markets we have delivered at Harton Quays over the past two years, which have drawn a sizeable audience into the Borough and given the hugely talented arts and craft makers the opportunity and perfect platform to display and sell their products.
"The planned developments and programme will offer a sustainable platform for growth and improvement, allowing us to ensure we have an exciting and attractive offer that will encourage more visitors into South Shields town centre."
South Shields' market operates from 9am to 4pm on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays around the Old Town Hall and sells everything from fruit and veg to fabric and phones.