Bury’s famous market is set to for a ‘generational boost’ after being allocated £20m of investment in Rishi Sunak’s budget.
The historic attraction has been awarded the maximum grant allowed under the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to build a new flexi-hall and regenerate the surrounding area.
Bury Council said the money would see the market ‘thrive for many generations to come’.
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The market was granted its charter in the 1440s and now attracts millions of visitors every year and thousands of coaches from across the country.
With 370 stalls on its three sites, the market hall, outdoor market, and the fish and meat hall, it has won numerous national awards and accolades, and was voted Britain’s Favourite Market in 2019.
Coun Eamonn O’Brien, leader of Bury Council, said: “This is just the news that we’ve been waiting for, and will be welcomed by our market traders, customers and visitors to Bury from far and wide.
“We were up against tough competition to win this money, and this is the culmination of two years of hard work by our market task force, which proposed in 2020 that we create a flexi-hall to help secure the long-term future of the market.
“Bury Market is rightly described as the jewel in Bury’s crown, which is why we did so much to support traders through the coronavirus pandemic.
“This investment, plus nearly £5m more from Bury Council will bring regeneration and prosperity both to the market and the wider town centre area.
“We can now move forward at pace and ensure that our historic market is in the best place to thrive, modernise and meet the challenges of today such as online shopping and customers’ changing preferences, providing additional facilities for the community in the town centre.
“Further consultation will now take place with market traders, customers and the wider public and other stakeholders to ensure the development delivers for the people of Bury as outlined in the bid.”
The flexi hall will comprise a large, state-of-the-art, carbon neutral, multi-functional events space that can support market stalls, ‘pop-up’ trading, live performance, and community events.
The development will also include a café bar, an area dedicated to office functions, and space dedicated to the provision of workshops, co-worker space or small business start-ups.
The flexi hall will be used to complement the market’s offer and expand the diversity of groups who use the market, without losing or alienating existing customers.
It will provide space to support food and drink festivals and seasonal events such as Christmas markets.
Market improvement works will mean refurbished market kiosks, improved access and servicing, and a new ‘oversailing’ canopy which will cover the existing market which will be highly visible from Angouleme Way, giving visitors a positive view of the space.
There will also be work to address repair and maintenance issues, as well as measures to improve the environmental performance of the market through recycling infrastructure and energy efficiency improvements.
The public realm surrounding the market have better links between the market and adjacent infrastructure, including Bury Interchange, the college and the wider town centre.
The entrances to the market will also become more clearly defined.