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Revamp for Leicester Market

Published on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A YEAR-LONG programme of works that will transform Leicester’s historic outdoor market gets under way next month.


The £1.86million scheme will include simple measures – a deep clean, a coat of paint and new LED lighting – as well as more significant changes that will have a big impact on the look and feel of the market.


Market traders have been consulted on the works, which are the latest phase of a major redevelopment project that has so far seen the construction of a new food hall, the demolition of the old 1970s indoor market and the creation of a new public square – all within the last five years.


As part of the new scheme, a section of the market roof that currently wraps around the side of the Corn Exchange will be removed and stalls in the area will be relocated, opening up views of the Grade II* listed building and the new market square.


All of the market’s stalls will be replaced, new LED spotlights will be installed, and a deep clean will brighten up the space.


Attractive wooden canopy edging around the perimeter will give the market a fresh new look, while helping to protect shoppers and traders from the wind and rain.


And the layout of the market will be reconfigured, creating better routes through the site for shoppers and making it easier for traders to showcase their goods.


City Mayor Peter Soulsby, who launched his plans for a major revamp of the market area in December 2012, said: “This latest phase of our market redevelopment programme will transform the overall look and feel of the outdoor market, bringing it up to the standards that today’s traders, shoppers and visitors expect.


“Simple steps, such as deep-cleaning, repainting and more lighting, will have an instant impact, but it was important that we took this opportunity to make other changes that would significantly improve the quality of the market environment.


“New stalls and a better layout will attract new traders to the market, while maintaining the character – and the hustle and bustle – that makes the market unique.


“The investment we’ve made in the market is already having a positive impact on the wider area – with new bars and businesses opening in the surrounding streets – and I hope that these latest works will inspire even greater confidence in the area.”


As part of the works, facilities for the market traders will be enhanced, with a convenient on-site recycling point and a brand new transformer due to be installed. The new transformer will improve the power supply to the stalls, while providing power for events in the new market square.


These facilities, as well as a new customer service point, will be incorporated into two new timber-clad blocks that will front Market Place North. The blocks will also house six new lock-up units that will be available for rent.


Stalls along Market Place North will be relocated, before works get under way.


Head of markets Paul Edwards said: “The traders recognise that the outdoor market needs this investment and have been involved with our plans from the start.


“There will inevitably be inconvenience as works get under way, but we’ll be trying to keep disruption to a minimum by working our way around the market in sections.


“The market will continue to trade throughout the works, so I would urge the public to continue to support the traders while we create an outdoor market that the city can be proud of.”


Improvement works will get under way on Monday 9 April, when contractors will begin to steam-clean the market’s polycarbonate roof. Other works will then be rolled out, with the replacement of the market stalls carried out in sections so that trading can continue throughout the works.


Works will be largely complete by spring 2019.


Associated works in the market area are also about to get under way. From Tuesday 3 April, contractors will start work on the rear of the Corn Exchange, re-routing the essential services at the back of the building and creating a new façade for the rear of the Grade II* listed building. The scheme is due for completion in November 2018.


Also in the area, improvements to the carriageway on Market Place East are now complete, with a final scheme for Market Place South due to get under way once the refurbishment of the market is complete next year.


A key approach to the market will also be transformed, when the city council demolishes the dingy alleyway that leads to Dolphin Square. Subject to planning permission, 15 Horsefair Street will be taken down during the autumn, creating a wide and welcoming entrance to the market area and forming an attractive new link between Town Hall Square and the new market square.