A town centre road will be closed to traffic to make extra space for Bridport’s street market this weekend in a bid to enable shoppers to socially distance.

Bridport Town Council will install market stalls in Downes Street on Saturday, July 8, as part of safety measures being trialled amid the Covid19 pandemic.

The one-way Downes Street will be closed from Rax Lane junction, with access to Wykes Court car park and Rax Lane off West Street and Victoria Grove.

Town Clerk, Will Austin, said: “This Saturday we will trial an experimental change with market stalls in Downes Street.

“The town council recognises that these urgent responses to a major health and economic crisis will mean compromise and that we won’t always get things right first time because of short timescales we are working to. I would ask for the community’s patience and cooperation while we adapt to these difficult circumstances.”

The moves have been announced just weeks after the return of the town’s farmers’ market. The event was held in a temporary location in Barrack Street and Lyric Theatre due to regular market stalls occupying its normal home on the arts centre forecourt, Bucky Doo Square and in town centre laybys.

The town council say the move to temporarily relocate the farmers’ market was ‘overwhelmingly positively received by residents, visitors and local businesses.

Despite one resident responding to a council survey to complain the site was not suitable, councillors have agreed to repeat the market this Saturday. They insist the site is not a permanent move, and have agreed to explore a later start time with organisers.

Mr Austin said: “The arrangements are a temporary and urgent response to the need to balance the needs of social distancing in the town centre, with support for those whose livelihoods depend on the market. There are no plans to make this a permanent venue - something that could not happen without statutory consultation.”