The new timber-framed structure will have a continuous roof, with panels of slatted glazing to create a brighter and welcoming environment inside. The new stalls, facing inward and outward, will be in the two different size options requested by the traders, ensuring traders can transfer into units of at least the same size as current.
There will also be a wider internal walkway, plus covered open spaces which can be used for a range of purposes, including potentially siting further units, space for two-day traders, pop-up events, performances and exhibitions. There will also be refurbished trader toilets and a new market office.
Responding to traders’ concerns about the initial idea of moving to a temporary market during works, the council is now taking a phased approach of building the new facilities and demolishing the old facilities in two separate sections. This allows the new market to occupy much of the footprint of the existing facilities, while enabling traders under the covered market to continue operating from their current location during works, with traders relocating to occupy new stalls in two separate phases.
On January 21, Policy and Resources Committee will be asked to progress the project into the formal planning process. The council already has £2.5m in place for the scheme and is seeking the remainder as part of its bid to the Future High Streets Fund, subject to a business case.
Cllr Carl Smith and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, leaders of the main political groups, said: “Improving the Market Place is a key project of the wider Town Centre Masterplan, with the council working closely with partners to revitalise the town centre as a community hub and destination for the future.
“The current outdated market canopy, dating to 1992, is beyond its designed lifespan, while the utilities are complex and congested. The market has continually adapted over the centuries and is again ready for investment.
“We are very excited about the updated designs, which will mean a brighter, more inviting market in the heart of the historic Market Place, helping to support the market itself and our regeneration ambitions for the wider town centre. We hope that everyone will be equally impressed and show their support for the plans and the funding bid.
“Over the last 18 months, officers have spoken with the traders, both collectively and individually, and worked hard to reflect their feedback in the updated design, layout and the management of works. Subject to full funding and planning approval, the current intention is to start redevelopment in winter 2020/21, liaising with traders of both the covered and two-day markets, in advance of and during the works.”