EXPRESSIONS of interest are being sought from prospective operators of street markets in nine County Durham towns.

Durham County Council officials say markets in Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Crook, Seaham, Spennymoor, Stanhope and Stanley could be run by community groups, trade consortia or specialist market providers.

An information day will be held at County Hall, Durham, on Wednesday, July 31, to give interested parties the chance to find out more.

The event is part of the council’s Revitalising Markets Strategy, a bid to ensure markets are effectively managed and are given the opportunity to develop as part of wider town centre regeneration initiatives.

The authority is offering would-be operators the chance to enter into medium to long-term management contracts for the markets.

Joanne Waller, head of environment, health and consumer protection at Durham County Council, said: “If markets are to thrive, there need to be changes to how they are managed and promoted.”

Interested parties are advised to register with the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO) to be able to see the relevant documents.

Registration is free and information about the contracts and on how to register can be found at

Anyone attending the information day on July 31 is asked to confirm their attendance by contacting Durham County Council on 03000 261 016 or emailing