Plans to invest in a new indoor market as part of the regeneration of Scunthorpe town centre have been discussed with traders.
The existing Scunthorpe Market building requires a multi-million-pound refurbishment to meet the current appropriate standards.
In addition, traders would have to move to a temporary facility or cease trading whilst the building was re-fitted. Both traders and shoppers were clear this was not an option during a recent consultation.
The Leader of North Lincolnshire Council Cllr Rob Waltham revealed the former BHS store in the Parishes is the preferred new home for the market.
“These plans not only create a great new location for a modern, vibrant indoor market but also bring back into life a prominent town centre store,” he said. “In fact many traders and shoppers suggested BHS as a new home for the market in the consultation.
“The former BHS store is a terrific location, close to the bus station where footfall is high and in the heart of the town’s retail offer. Also we hope that the new market will help support other retailers to take up units in the area.
“We have been through an extensive business planning process and relocating the market to BHS provides best value for local taxpayers, whilst also keeping the current market trading.”
This represents a substantial investment as part of the council and business led £60-million commitment to regenerate Scunthorpe town centre, said Cllr Waltham.
“There is a lot of work to do but now we have a location, we can work with traders on the detail,” he said.
This option will allow the traders to continue trading at the existing site until the new facility is ready to open for business, ensuring minimum disruption to their livelihood.
The new market will also be important to the wider business community in the town centre.
“Our stated aim is to bring more visitors into Scunthorpe. We are one of the only councils in the country to offer free car parking and hundreds of thousands of visits prove how this is supporting our local economy and providing a free offer to our residents.
“Now we are keen to continue to support more employment and business opportunities in and around the town centre.”
“We are determined to transform the town centre into a successful retail, education, employment and leisure destination.
“Most of the town centre investment will come from businesses; the council is a small but instrumental player in improving the town.” Cllr Waltham said. “However, this investment sends out a clear message that we are serious about increasing prosperity in North Lincolnshire.”
Increased footfall through a quality market offer are the objectives. He pointed to the success of Ashby Market as an example of how a market could be revitalised.
“This is a new concept – it is not a simple relocation. We are looking to create a market that has a real buzz and great atmosphere; somewhere customers want to go and traders want to be.”
“If people doubt our ambitions I would point them in the direction of Ashby. The investment there and the subsequent move has regenerated the area.”
“We have a waiting list of traders wanting to be part of it. That’s what we want to do with the new market in Scunthorpe.”
Cllr Waltham said there was a commitment from the council to consultation throughout the development process.
However, not all of the traders are as enthusiastic about the plans; in particular there are worries about spreading the facility over more than the ground floor, based on a belief that customers won’t want to go anywhere else, with the resulting drop in trade.