WINCHESTER is now one step closer to normality.

Stallholders were delighted to return for the first street market since lockdown began on Friday (June 5).

The rain held off for most of the day and each of 15 gazebos had at least a couple of customers throughout the day.

All the regular faces were to be seen – not in the High Street, but at Middle Brook Street car park.

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Dave Osman, who runs the E-Cigs and E-Liquids stall, told the Chronicle: "It's great to be back, but I can't help but feel as though it could've been better advertised.

"Still, at least we are back and get to see the people we have missed. Definitely beats sitting around at home.

"Hopefully we will see a few more customers in the next few weeks."

Most sellers were relieved to be able to return, make money again and see their regular customers.

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But Richard Butler, who runs Winchester-based Butler Country Estates, said: "Don't get me wrong, nothing beats being able to see the people you're selling to like this and it's a relief to be back.

"But during lockdown I've been working constantly and it has been a very good time for the business. New lines, new fish – we've grown, and are back here bigger."

The market organiser plans to continue to trade on Fridays and Saturdays between 9am and 4pm.

Hampshire Farmers’ Market is also working with the city council to support the return of the local produce stalls on Sunday 14 June.

Whilst browsing the Ellie and Bea stall, customer Jacquie Webster said: "It's very good to see the market back. I must admit it was a lot nicer having it in the High Street.

"Having it in a car park is a lot like the ones you get in Spain. But having these lovely stalls back gives people a bit of optimism that life is slowly returning to how it once was."