Traders and local businesses have been updated on how plans for the upgrade of the historic Surrey Street market are progressing at a well-attended event.
The 700-year-old market is set for a £1.1m renovation after the council secured an additional £600,000 on top of the £500,000 funding it acquired last year.
Proposals for the site include public realm works, involving improvements to the highway that will see the carriageway made level and enhancing the market’s design to make the street more pedestrian-friendly and to create a vibrant, flexible market space.
Improved signage, street lighting and architectural lighting on building facades will also be installed subject to the property owner’s permission. The council has started talks with some property owners, and further discussions are still to be held as plans develop.
The funding will be used to create a vivacious public space and aims to increase footfall to the market. Public art will be installed to uplift the market and also used as a way to attract residents and visitors from High Street and North End. Signposting will also be improved from train stations, bus and tram stops.
More than 50 traders, businesses and residents attended the event and provided helpful feedback. The key areas discussed included the need for regular updates about future disruption while the works are carried out, the need to install barriers to reduce unlawful vehicle access onto the market, seating provision and the need to protect the market’s cultural heritage.
A follow up consultation event will be held in the coming weeks to discuss the ‘softer’ improvements including public art, improved ways to help visitors locate the market from the town centre and the future of the market itself.
The council has boosted Surrey Street by establishing the Sunday market, which focuses on street food, homemade and artisan produce, arts and crafts, vintage and retro goods and street entertainment. Shoppers can now also surf the web as they shop, thanks to a new free public Wi-Fi network which was activated last year.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs, said: “I’m delighted this funding will allow us to make improvements that will further enhance the offerings of Surrey Street and be of great benefit to the existing market traders and businesses in the vicinity.
“We’ve already taken steps to boost growth in trade and to help ensure the market becomes a truly vibrant, seven-days-a-week venue where visitors can enjoy a range of activities including shopping, meeting with friends, eating and viewing art.
“The council has listened to what the market traders have said and is now acting on it to help create a vibrant market that will rival some of London’s best.”