Committee to consider proposed design for Market Place redevelopment
A REPORT setting out a proposed new design for Great Yarmouth's Market Place will be considered by the borough council's Policy and Resources Committee on Tuesday, October 16.
During the summer, a design team led by Hudson Architects have engaged with market traders, retailers, shoppers and other stakeholders, to help develop a unique design to improve the market facilities, as part of the Town Centre Masterplan.
During discussions, 75 per cent of respondents indicated they thought the market was ready for a change. The existing canopy is beyond its 25-year lifespan and is increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain, while the stalls are no longer mobile and the utilities are complex and congested.
Representing a £2.7m investment, the recommended preferred design would see the six-day market redeveloped to include 36 new single and double stall units, covered by an architecturally-striking market canopy, plus two central areas, one covered, for sitting, eating and potentially small events and activities. There would also be refurbished trader toilets and a new market office.
The proposed unit size would allow every market trader to transition into an equal or larger-sized unit than what they currently occupy, with traders able to choose from a range of options around fit-out to meet their needs, and from a colour palette to meet their preferences. To account for utilities and increase the dwell space within the market itself, the redeveloped market would need to be positioned three metres to the north - less than the frontage length of a single unit.
The design team would manage the redevelopment sympathetically to ensure the market continues trading during the works. The proposal is that traders would move their fixtures and fittings into the brand new stalls, located temporarily just to the south of the development site, which at the conclusion of works would be relocated to their permanent positions.
The proposal also includes a flexible market, "the Big Market", incorporating the current two-day market pitches, to allow for visiting markets, events and new stallholders. Positioned to the north and south of the redeveloped six-day facilities, this would extend the market towards King Street and Market Gates, capturing the market as an experience and wider retail offer.
The committee is asked to recommend to full council the preferred design and the allocation of £1.2m towards the scheme to help support bids for external investment. The council has already submitted a £1.5m bid to the Coastal Communities Fund and awaits the outcome.
The political group leaders, Cllr Graham Plant and Cllr Trevor Wainwright, said: "We have one of the UK's oldest markets, and that longevity has rested on its ability to adapt over the centuries. People tell us that the market is again ready for a change. The current canopy dates to 1992 and is beyond its designed lifespan, so just carrying on with maintaining this is not an option.
"This situation presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the community, retailers and traders to have new facilities, fit for the 21st century. While the ultimate decision is for full council, these exciting designs for Great Yarmouth have been shaped through discussions with the member working group, council officers and through wider public engagement, and they offer the potential to boost both the market and the wider town centre."
Joe Harrison, Chief Executive of the National Market Traders' Federation, said: "The NMTF fully support the efforts and the proposed investment that is attempting to be made by the council in order to improve the market offer in the town, both for the local community and tourists, in order to make it aesthetically attractive and to maintain its presence in the overall retail offer of Great Yarmouth's town centre.
"It is also appreciated by the NMTF that the two major parties see this as not party political but a genuine improvement to the benefit of the people who will both trade there and shop there. Lastly and by no means least, we appreciate that in order to keep the project totally honest and transparent, the consultation for the proposal has been genuinely inclusive in its consultation with the important stakeholders. i.e its traders."
If the proposed design is supported at both the committee and full council on November 1, the current timeline, subject to funding and planning approval, is to site the temporary market in late 2019 with the aim of the new market opening in spring 2020.
Survey - share your views
The council is gathering public views about the proposal. We would be grateful if you could please take part in the short survey by clicking here.