Results of Oxford’s Covered Market consultation in – majority in favour of extended opening hours

Published: Thursday, 13th October 2022

The majority of respondents favour later opening hours at Oxford’s historic Covered Market, a new consultation has found.

Almost 700 Oxford people, including traders and members of the public, had their say on extending opening hours at the Covered Market.

Consultation key findings include:

  • 70% of traders expressed an interest in extending their own hours during any pilot scheme (but would first need to consider staffing issues)
  • 70% of members of the public said they would visit more often if later opening hours also involved more events and opportunities to eat and drink as well as shop
  • Eating in (86%) and having a drink (73%) were cited as the most popular reason to visit
  • Most popular activities suggested by the public were Trader-led events (e.g., tastings, ‘meet the trader’ talks) and music, both at 74% of those surveyed, followed by comedy (52%) and film screenings (47%)

The consultation on a potential pilot of extended opening hours ran from 26 July to 23 August. The results will help the Council develop plans to support market traders to extend their opening hours and create a unique destination in the city for shopping and socialising in the evening.

Nationally, shopping is changing and consumers want a more varied experience when they make physical trips into towns and cities. Markets are also evolving and offering a wider range of attractions to persuade people to shop ‘in-person’ rather than online.

The Council is working with traders and other stakeholders in order to update the historic Covered Market for the 21st Century. Following on from the consultation about later opening hours, the Council is also seeking views from the public on its “masterplan” for the Covered Market. These views will be used by the Council to refine its draft masterplan, which sets out proposals for a multi-million pound regeneration of the Market to secure its long-term future.

The Covered Market Masterplan Consultation is open until 19 October 2022 at:

Councillor Imogen Thomas, cabinet member responsible for City Centre Action Plan delivery at Oxford City Council, said:

“This is the biggest response we have had to a consultation about the Covered Market and shows how much it is valued by local people. The consultation has given us real insight into the kinds of activities and shopping experience people would most enjoy.

“Two-thirds of people surveyed said they would visit the Covered Market more often if later opening hours also involved more events, opportunities to eat and drink as well as shop, which gives us a great starting point for future discussions”.