ARE YOU in the market for a Wednesday bargain?

That's what council chiefs are trying to establish as they investigate what people think of Dorchester's historic Wednesday market.

The market has been an important aspect of county town life for hundreds of years.

But the future is uncertain as its home at Fairfield is set to be redeveloped with shops and restaurants built on the site.

West Dorset District Council says the market can be moved – but has not identified where.

Meanwhile, Dorchester Town Council is bidding to wrest the market back from the district council – before local government reorganisation happens in a year’s time.

The town council claims that if the market is transferred to the new rural Dorset Council all interest in the business, and any hope of investment in it, could disappear.

Now the district council has launched a survey that asks people's opinions on the market, whether they shop there or not.

The survey takes about five minutes to fill in. It asks a range of questions, based on whether people currently use the market in some capacity, or if they don’t use it all.

It asks questions including what could make the market experience better for visitors.

Cllr Mary Penfold, West Dorset District Council’s spokesman for Enabling, said: “This survey intends to glean insights in order to provide us with valuable data. This data will compliment commissioned reports to fully understand the current situation and future opportunities regarding our market."

Cllr Molly Rennie, vice chairman of the Markets panel, added: “This will be key to help us achieve our vision of a thriving and vibrant market here in Dorchester to rival any town market for quality, value and experience.”

The council says it recognises the importance of the market to the success of the core retail area of the town and does not see Dorchester’s future without this valued local asset.

A spokesman said: "What we are working hard to do is improve the fortunes of the market to ensure its prosperity.

"This survey will provide valuable insights for us to consider alongside commissioned reports to achieve that goal."

Complete the survey at