AN EXTRA outdoor market will be trialled at Gloucester Green from next month, giving the area a boost.

Earlier this week city councillor Mary Clarkson warned that the square was in danger of becoming a ‘no-go area’ if the homeless continued to sleep in the doorways of empty shop units.

Oxford Mail:

Rough sleepers have been asked by city council staff to keep the area tidy but their belongings are left in doorways.

READ AGAIN: Gloucester Green in danger of becoming 'no-go area'

While the council waits for property company NewRiver to find tenants to fill vacant units, including the former Fopp music store, a Friday market would be a positive step, say traders.

One trader at the Wednesday market, who asked not to be named, said: “If the units were filled then the guys wouldn’t sleep in the doorways.

READ AGAIN: Police arrest man and seize drugs and cash in Gloucester Green

“Sometimes they help me set up my stall - they are not really doing any harm - but maybe they could put some tourists off.

“These open markets offer something different and I’m looking forward to Fridays - I’ve heard it is going to start as a trial next month.”

At the moment a market runs on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday but Oxford City Council is planning to trial a market on Friday, meaning stalls will trade on four consecutive days.

Oxford Mail:

On Wednesday there are food stalls and a general market while Thursday focuses on antiques, arts and crafts.

Then on Saturday there is food, crafts and vintage stalls.

City council leaders say they are working with NewRiver to find a solution to the homelessness problem.

READ AGAIN: Homeless sleep in doorways of former Gloucester Green restaurants

City council spokesman Dave Lansley said: “Our city centre manager and Thames Valley Police have had discussions with NewRiver about their rights and responsibilities as landlords, including the action they could take as landowners.

“NewRiver see options like injunctions as a last resort and would prefer to take more positive actions.

Oxford Mail:

“Our community response and city centre ambassador teams have been in daily contact with Gloucester Green businesses and rough sleepers.

“We have been asking rough sleepers to keep the area tidy and encouraging them to access services to help them inside and get the support they need to leave homelessness behind.

READ MORE: How to fill empty retail units - shoppers come up with ideas

“In the first instance, this would involve engagement with the outreach team.”

As well as the former Fopp store the former El Mexicana chain restaurant and family-run Combibos coffee shop also remain closed and rough sleepers have been taking shelter outside.

NewRiver on its website describes Gloucester Green as a bustling square in the heart of Oxford boasting a mix of national and local retailers, weekly markets, and 100-space car park next to the city’s main bus terminal.

Oxford Mail:

LSD Promotions manages the outdoor markets on behalf of the council.

Mr Lansley added: “The trial is due to start at the beginning of April, initially for six months.”

Oxford Mail:

Other businesses in Gloucester Green include Thirsty Meeples games cafe and Buongiorno e Buonasera pizza restaurant.