ALMOST £200,000 has been earmarked to improve Clitheroe’s market.

Ribble Valley Borough Council has approved plans to put £175,000 aside for the scheme from 2016.

The plans, which feature in a new capital bid, include the replacement of the existing stalls with ‘Tudor style’ timber cabins and reduce the number from 31 to between 20 and 25.

The proposal, aimed at ‘refreshing the market’ and addressing ‘long-standing’ design and maintenance issues, also includes plans for a new car park.

The funding pledge comes weeks before Nelson-based Barnfield Construction Ltd is due to publish plans to develop the site.

The firm was handed an exclusive six-month option to bring forward viable proposals for a vibrant hub to Clitheroe’s retail district in October.

Council leader Stuart Hirst said that if the firm didn’t come up with an option, then the council’s money would be used to redevelop the market.

The market dates from the 12th Century Norman Conquest and was previously redeveloped in 1995.

Nick Gell, manager at Cowman’s Famous Sausage Shop, said: “Anything that brings more people into the town can only be a good thing.”

Latitude Studios’ co-owner Andy Schofield said: “It’s vital that the borough council invest in the town centre and this looks to be an example of them doing just that.

“I hope this benefits existing businesses by attracting more trade to the area.”

The council’s deputy leader, coun Simon Hore said: “Details of how the council would redevelop the site if the private sector involvement declines have not been worked out yet.

“It’s all about trying to increase footfall in Clitheroe and trying to make it more than just a market town.

“We have listened to retailers concerns and we hope to be able to publish more plans in a few weeks.

“We will also talk to the chamber of trade and the town council to seek their views.”