PLANS to create specialised markets around the borough of Stockton are to be the subject of a consultation exercise.

A consumer survey will take place to gauge views about the state of the markets and to encourage ideas on how to develop them.

It will also examine the possibility of creating more markets in the area.

The survey will be carried out among market traders, retailers and the public.

Options which could be considered include holding a bank holiday market in Stockton; a Friday market in Billingham; a market in Yarm; and specialised markets selling French and German produce.

Plans to hold specialised craft markets will also be investigated.

Stephanie Richardson, from the Yarm Traders' Association, said: "The view of almost everyone in Yarm would be that it would be fine if it was held around the town hall and was only small, as there is not enough car-parking spaces.

"It would be the first time there had been a market in Yarm to my knowledge. It is very hard to judge in this day and age how successful it would be as markets do not seem to be as popular as they once were.

"It may be good if it was like a farmers' market, but then it would possibly take customers away from the existing stores.

"We would also need to see what effect it would have on car parking as we do not have enough spaces to satisfy demand at present."

Councillors from Stockton Borough Council's markets forum will discuss the proposals tomorrow.

Councillor Suzanne Fletcher, from the forum, said: "We have got very loyal market traders in Stockton and we need to listen to what they say.

"We need further ideas from a wide variety of people on how to develop the markets and give them a nice atmosphere.

"Specialist markets will be a good thing because they will attract more people to the town and offer a different variety of produce.

"The key is to work together to ensure we get the best for the markets and the town."