A NEW bid has been launched to find an operator for the weekly market in a rural County Durham town.

Durham County Council is currently responsible for Barnard Castle's Wednesday charter market but is keen to offload it to a new operator.

An initial contract to run the market was put out to tender last September and county officials hoped a new regime would be in place by the end of October.

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However, four months later, tenders are being sought for a new contract to promote, manage and operate the market.

In a change to the terms and conditions, an annual licence fee of at least £5,000 payable to Durham County Council has been removed from the tender documents.

At a special meeting on Monday evening (March 10), Barnard Castle Town Council members will be asked if they wish to reconsider bidding to run the market following the removal of the annual licence fee.

The town council and anyone else interested in running the market must submit their tenders by noon on Friday, March 14.

If a new operator is appointed, they will take over the market from April 1.