MARKETING Cheshire’s new Christmas market outside Chester’s Town Hall has attracted huge interest from independent businesses across the region since plans were unveiled in the summer.

More than half the stalls have already been awarded to traders eager to take advantage of the new festive attraction in the heart of the city.

Christmas Market organiser Anna Roberts, from Marketing Cheshire, said: “We have received a lot of enquiries from a great variety of small, independent companies wanting to take part in the new Christmas Market, which we have just extended by another week.

The adjudication panel, which vets all the applications for stalls for choice, quality, value and customer appeal, has just approved the first allocation of spaces.

“We will be assigning the remaining stalls shortly and the deadline for submitting applications is Saturday, but anyone interested in securing a space will need to be quick off the mark to make sure they don’t miss out.

“We’re looking for businesses that specialise in arts and crafts, jewellery, accessories, confectionery, toys and local food and drink as well as unusual gift ideas.

“Local businesses will be given priority in the allocation of stalls.”

Among the first businesses to be allocated spaces are The Cheshire Cheese Company, Flitty Bird and Winbridge Crafts.

Simon Spurrell, from The Cheshire Cheese Company, said: “As the current cheese rolling champions of Chester, we are really looking forward to bringing our range of amazing ‘Cheese that makes you Grin’ to Cestrians and visitors to the Christmas Market.

There is no better gift for celebrating Christmas than locally produced cheese and the market promises to be a magical festive celebration this year.”

The new initiative is being driven and managed by Marketing Cheshire.

The new Chester Christmas Market will take place from November 21-December 22, a week longer than originally planned.

It will feature 40 traditional wooden chalets in the town hall square offering crafts, clothing, jewellery, giftware and local food and drink.

The Christmas Market will complement the existing strong retail offer in the City and will form part of a comprehensive, co-ordinated package of festive entertainment designed to attract visitors from near and far and boost trade.

Application forms for stalls are still available at , or contact Anna Roberts on 01244 405631.

Alternatively, email