MIDDLEWICH lived up to its heritage as a market town on Saturday when more than 50 stalls lined the high street.

Wheelock Street was transformed into a bustling artisan market packed with fine food, drink, art and craft producers.

For the first time, the road was closed to traffic for the whole day.

Dave Roberts, of Whitley Close, said: "It was fantastic and exactly what this town has needed for years.

"A very professionally run event for which I've heard nothing but praise.

"Just the right mix of stalls, too. The only thing missing really was a good fruit and veg stall but no doubt this will be remedied in future markets.

"I think the key to it all was the closing of the main street to traffic, giving all the room needed to put on such a market.

"I hope this market will be the spur for the council giving serious consideration to the permanent pedestrianisation of Wheelock Street."

The event was organised by Denise Valente and Victoria Jackson who run the award-winning Wilmslow artisan market.

They are trialling the monthly event in Middlewich until August.

Victoria said: “Denise and I are absolutely delighted with how the event went.

“We are incredibly thankful to the Middlewich residents for supporting this initiative for the town and are thrilled that so many people enjoyed the day.”

Denise added: “Everyone pulled together. The town council was really supportive by putting out road signs and were on site all day diverting traffic.”

Despite the rain, hundreds of visitors perused the stalls and enjoyed entertainment from Middlewich singer Marie Clare Scott and Cheshire Pipe Band.

Some of the concerns about the town’s business owners losing out on trade were also overcome.

Mandy Daniel, owner of Cynthia's Patisserie, said: “A lot of our trade is passing trade and we were worried that our customers wouldn’t be able to get to us as quite a few are elderly and can’t walk from the car park.

“But the town was really busy in the end. The atmosphere was really good and so many people were coming into the town.”

Wimboldsley's Trish Ryan from Hopley House was selling homemade cakes.

She added: “It’s not long since we shut our teashop so it was good to see the old customers. “There was a nice friendly atmosphere. I sold out within an hour of closing.”

The artisan market was brought to Middlewich after six months of negotiations with Cheshire East Council and the town council.

Town clerk Jonathan Williams described it as ‘the most exciting venture to hit Wheelock Street in recent memory’.

He said: “The first Middlewich artisan market was a resounding success with a great variety of stalls, crafts, foods and local produce on offer to thousands of people who flocked into the town centre.

“The town council is delighted with the quality of the market, the benefits for existing retailers, and the tremendous turn out from residents and visitors alike.

“Thanks go especially to Denise and Vicky, the event organisers, and to all who supported this new initiative.”

- The next artisan market will be held on Saturday, July 28, from 10am until 4pm on Wheelock Street.

- What did you think? What did the organisers do well? What could be improved? Comment below.