A FADED icon of Swindon’s town centre will soon be back in business.

The tented market is to re-open on Friday, September 25, almost two years after money last changed hands under its distinctive roof.

Today prospective traders will get their first look inside the market since it was refurbished by new owners CJV Properties.

More than 50 businesses have already enquired about moving into the site, including about 10 former tenants.

A variety of businesses, from tailors to tea rooms, are being sought to fill the market, according to management company Keningtons.

Simon Ormrod, a partner at Keningtons, said: “This is very exciting for Swindon.

“With all the work that has been done in Wharf Green I think it makes the tented market an even better location than ever before.

“The tented market can now be a real compliment to the Brunel Centre.

“It is at the heart of the town centre and it’s such a well-known building. Now we have to make sure we get a good mixture of businesses to go in there. We don’t just want 50 mobile phone shops.”

The market has 53 stalls available, with rents starting at £110 per week.

Markets have occupied the site for most of the last 117 years.

The first market lasted from 1892 to 1977 before it was replaced by a car park.

The current building cost £1.1m when it was built in 1994.

However, the new-look market struggled to match the success of its predecessor and closed in October 2007.

The building survived the threat of demolition and relocation before being bought by CJV.

Stephen Hollister, 44, who ran heavy metal merchandise store The Little Rock Shop in the market from 1994 to 2007, said he was delighted to see it return.

He said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. This is exactly want Swindon needs and will give people a mix of what they can buy in the town centre.

“When the market closed it was terrible for us because it was such a good spot.

“The atmosphere in the old market was really good and I hope that’s something that is still true for the new one.”

Stephen, who now trades from Blunsdon Market and via his website, said the town centre would benefit from the market’s return.

“The town centre needs a market and I think everyone will be happy to see it back,” he said.

Boston Ali-Aklaqi, 32, had a tailoring and repairing stall in the market for eight months until it closed in 2007.

He said: “I was so happy when I found out the market was coming back because when it closed it was very difficult for me.

“I had to put my stock in the garage and I did not know what would happen.

“People in England love markets and it will bring a lot of life to the town centre.”

The market will open today for prospective tenants between 10am and 4pm.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the market can attend or call Keningtons on 01793 423351.