A NEW market is launching in Largs next month to provide an alternative shopping experience in Gallowgate Square.

The Largs Events group will stage a new local Largs Market outside every Saturday from August 1 between 10am and 4pm.

The volunteers behind the project say it can help boost businesses as they look to chart a course out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chair of Largs Events, Cllr Ian Murdoch, said: “Although we were looking at this prior to the lockdown, the idea has grown in importance as we look to find a plan to help the town get back on its feet. Local businesses need the support of local people now more than ever."

The new weekly market will be trialled initially in Gallowgate Square and Cllr Murdoch says he hopes the open air idea will encourage confidence among prospective shoppers.

He added: "We think the community will feel more confident about being in the open air, with lots of sanitising and social distancing measures. The market will consist principally of fresh produce including, meat, fish and fruit and vegetables from local shops.

"We hope that people will shop and stay on in the town, as well as maybe enjoying a snack or a bit of lunch.”

The event is being managed SHS Markets, who have a wealth of experience in the management and development of outdoor markets around Scotland including at Lomond Shores, Helensburgh and Milngavie.

Cllr Alan Hill, vice chair of Largs Events, added: “All stalls will be offered to local businesses first and initially in exchange for a donation rather than a fixed fee. This idea also allows shops to serve many more people in a relatively short space of time."

The market will not at this stage be offering hot food but will have cakes, bread and other items available to take away and eat. Personally I am hoping that some of our restaurants will see the opportunity to provide meals for people to take home and consume."

For the first few weeks, Largs Events will be subsidising the hire of a stall. Any food related local business who is interested should contact SHS Markets via their Facebook page, while letters will be circulated around the town to make businesses aware of the opportunities.

Cllr Hill added: "It is very exciting and part of an application for funds to the Scottish Government for town centre regeneration post coronavirus.

"Hopefully this will be a lift for local businesses and encourage a real community vibe."

Cllr Hill says he has already received a favourable response to idea from the traders he has spoken to so far.

Gallowgate Street was resurfaced and revitalised as part of the council's masterplan at a cost of £186,000. It has been used as an al fresco dining space by neighbouring bars and cafes.