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The new antiques megamarket, which covers 60,000 square feet in Brunel Drive, had enjoyed flourishing business for the month preceding the party and already more than 200 dealers had moved stock for sale into the centre.

The man behind the new venture, which he describes as the largest indoor antiques venue in Europe, is Ben Whitaker, a man well versed in the ways of the trade. As the son of Geoff Whitaker, the founder of the giant showground fair phenomenon, which he initiated at the nearby Newark and Nottinghamshire showground, Ben grew up with dealers and worked closely with his father before Geoff sold his fairs to DMG 10 years ago.

Ben is convinced his policy of charging no commission on sales will encourage sellers to keep prices right down. “Prices here could soon become a benchmark in the trade,” he says.

When I asked him if any early trading patterns were emerging, he replied: “Things are still settling down, however to date the pattern has seen small antiques moving faster than the furniture. It will take a bit longer for the furniture dealers to utilise their space.”