Bromley’s historic Charter Market will reopen from Thursday, the local authority has announced, with new social distancing measures to be implemented in a major step toward a return to normalcy in the borough’s town centres.

The council announced on Wednesday that a limited number of stallholders would reopen with greater spaces between stalls to aid social distancing.

Stallholders have also agreed reduce the size of their pitches as part of this, with the council confirming fees would be adjusted appropriately.

The news to re-open the market followed the temporary closure of the market in March.

The Government last month said that outdoor markets can open from June 1 if they were able to meet the Covid-19 guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.

The historic market has been running since 1205 when King John granted a charter allowing a weekly sale.

The news of its re-opening was welcomed by Cllr Peter Morgan, the executive member for renewal, recreation and housing.

“We are really pleased to be able to re-open the Charter Market again, which is another step in that path of returning to normal or to a new normal as has been said elsewhere,” he said.

“As well as continuing to observe social distancing measures, I would encourage residents and shoppers to back their local businesses not just because the economic impact of this dreadful coronavirus has been stark but also because we have a full range of businesses that are worth supporting and some of these will be trading this Thursday.”

 Maxine Stonebridge, a ladies’ fashions stall holder said “safety” of everyone visiting the market had to be paramount upon reopening.

“The Charter Market is one of the friendliest markets I’ve ever worked and I’m looking forward to seeing all the traders and customers again. I would like to thank the council for keeping all the traders up to date with this situation as it has progressed,” she said.

“I’m thankful for all the work that they have put in to enable the market to return in a safe way. The safety of everybody using the market has to be the number one priority.”

The authority said other measures to re-open town centres across the borough have been agreed.

Councillors on Monday agreed on a range of measures to help reopen town centres and high streets across the district, as well as