New-look Southport Market prepares for grand opening
PUBLISHED: 01:28 18 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:30 20 February 2013
Traders are settling in to the new-look Southport Market which opens this month Photography by John Cocks
The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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Southports Victorian market hall is set to re-open this month after a 3million facelift. The revamp has transformed the market hall into a light and airy space which will be home to 48 traders, some new, some old and six who stayed throughout the redevelopment work.
The refurbished market will also have a cookery demonstration area and a caf with folding glass doors opening onto the newly widened King Street pavement.
The market hall will become the new home of the monthly farmers markets and will also give a boost to people looking to launch new businesses. A number of units in the revamped market hall have been set aside for start-up firms to give them a shop front, with a short term lease.
Andy Morris, the operational director for market redevelopment company Quarterbridge who are overseeing the work, said: It can be difficult for
traders or retailers or hobbyists who have an idea and want to go on their own on the high street. But here you have a short term lease of six months, so you can try your product or try your service and see how it goes. We want people with new ideas who dont want to let a high street unit for four or five years with massive overheads.
They will be under the same roof as established businesses, including Gracinda Churchhouse who has kept her stall open while the works have gone on around her.
She said: Ive been looking forward to the work being finished for some time now. We noticed about three years ago that the numbers of people coming to the market were dropping but even while the work was being finished we noticed a real difference.
More people have been walking in and I think it will be great once we have had the grand opening and its all up and running.
And Andy Morris, who has previously worked on the redevelopment of markets in Accrington, Bury, Bolton and Blackburn, added: The work has been designed to highlight that this is the market quarter of Southport and we can see already that the area is starting to pick up.
We have been working on this for 18 months and the plan is that people feel they are entering a different part of town. New shops have opened and we are seeing more people passing by.
There has been a renaissance in food in recent years and for any market to be successful it is vital they get the food offer right. Were convinced we have got that right, with great traders, the demonstration kitchen and Divine, the caf over the road, opening in here as well.
Steve Irwin from Sefton Council, who own the market, said: We are delighted with how the market looks now. Its even better than I expected.
It has not simply been a matter of working on the market hall, but on widening the pavements and re-surfacing the road as well, weve looked at the area as a whole.
In the market itself we wanted to look at the retail offer and to bring other people in to the market hall to see the events we are now able to put on, whether thats the chefs demonstrations, or brass bands, or carol concerts at Christmas.
The market is open now but a grand opening will be held on July 7th.