AN indoor market is set to move into Boscombe’s former TJ Hughes, with an ‘artist’s colony’ upstairs.

The unnamed operator, who runs an operation at Camden Market, would hopefully include a variety of quality stalls including a butchers shop more.

The plans for the unit in the Sovereign Centre were revealed at the October meeting of the Bournemouth Chamber of Trade.

Chris Kelu, the council’s senior economic regeneration officer, said: “They have been marketing it very hard but there were very few enquiries.

“I started speaking to the potential applicant about six months ago. I had a meeting with him last week and we will be signing on the bottom line any time now.

“The ground floor will become an indoor market and the second floor an artist’s colony with subsidized studios and galleries.”

Boscombe already has an outdoor market and Mr Kelu said some of the traders had asked about opening a secondary stalls inside.

He added: “The statistics show indoor markets are the way forward.”

He hoped for more news in around six weeks time.

“We are looking for a good variety; food, cheese, a butchers, a little bit of everything,” he said.

TJ Hughes closed in August 2011 with the loss of around 45 jobs after the Liverpool-based chain went into administration.

Stephen Taylor, from King of the Kurtains in the Sovereign Centre, a former TJ Hughes worker, said visitor numbers had been hit since the summer murder investigation after the shooting in Roumelia Lane.

He added: “I don’t think an indoor market is going to be anything like Camden and anything like as big a draw as TJ Hughes was. It could end up looking very empty.”

Tim Clark, head of retail at letting agents Hughes Ellard, told October’s Boscombe Business Forum that there would be more news on the unit “in the next few weeks.”

He said that despite the closure footfall to the Sovereign Centre had remained steady at around 100,000 a week.

Entrepreneur Ruth Little opened an indoor market called the Boscombe Underground on the corner of Adeline Road in 2009 which was inspired by Camden Market.

It closed though several traders went on to open their own shops.