DEVIZES Market manager Mark Hill walked into a perfect storm when he took on his job back in the spring and things have not got any easier.

He is introducing new ideas to both The Shambles indoor market and the main Market Place after their running was transferred from Wiltshire Council to the town council but has been accused on social media of not doing enough.

He said: “These things are not going to happen over night but I am pleased with what has happened so far and there is a lot more to come.

“Luckily I make a point of not reading Facebook so I haven’t seen the criticism of me but I think we are going in the right direction.

“We have started a Wednesday craft market from 9am to 3pm in The Shambles and I am keen to launch something on Fridays and Saturdays. We have lost a couple of regular people in that part of the Shambles and it is looking a bit sparse.

“I think a food Friday could work well but it is as case of getting the right stalls.

“We have also started pop-up food in the Market Place on Friday and Saturday evenings offering mac and cheese and Caribbean food. It is different to the other offerings in town so shouldn’t affect restaurant trade. It is the sort of place you go to after having a few drinks in the pub and just fancy something quick to eat.”

He is pleased that the permanent stalls at the far end of the Shambles are fully occupied apart from one. Another plan is to start a regular youth market so young entrepreneurs can show their wares.

Mr Hill took on his new role created by Devizes Town Council to coincide with with a transfer of a number of assets, including markets, from Wiltshire Council back in March.

But the last few months have been fraught with problems over Market Place parking, the layout of the area and use of it as a community space.

Just as the town council launched its poll on the layout Wiltshire Council announced it was introducing paid-for parking in the Market Place with app only payment.

It then back tracked and put in a solar ticket machine which for the first week did not work.

Town clerk Simon Fisher said: “We have come in for some stick over the past months but all of us here really care about the town and want what is best for it. We all really care about Devizes.”