PEOPLE in Monmouth welcomed the return of the town's market to the restored Shire Hall after a three-year absence.

Saturday saw the relaunch of the market at Agincourt Square outside the Grade I listed building, where a £4.5 million refurbishment was completed last year.

During the restoration the market moved to Blestium Street car park, but it will now take place in both venues on Saturdays, with an extra market in the car park on Fridays.

The return was greeted by an array of street entertainment, including stilt walkers, balloon twisters and music.

Gillian Moore, who has a stall underneath the arches of the historic building, selling ceramics and bread, was among those happy to be back at Shire Hall.

She said: "We missed the Shire Hall, it's chronic down there (in the car park), with my bread and china blowing all over the place."

Antonia McKerrow, 78, from Monmouth, said: "It's bringing a bit more life to this part of town, where it should be.

"The building is nice but there wasn't much going on. It seemed a bit of a show piece, but this brings it together."

Mum-of-three Aliz Davies, 33, from Monmouth, said: "It's great to have it back, and it attracts lots of people, and I think it's fantastic that it's at both ends of town."

Therese Casemore, also from Monmouth, said: "It's right to see the market back where it belongs. The heart had been out of Monmouth since it was relocated."

Darren Davies, market officer for Monmouthshire council, said there were around 20 stalls at the Shire Hall market on Saturday, with everything from fresh food, clothing, toys, flowers and craft stalls.

Vice-chairwoman of Monmouthshire councll Cllr Maureen Powell said: "It's great to see it here but I'm glad they've kept it at the car park.

"It keeps both ends of town alive."