A NEW medieval-style market hall which was built in Penistone at a cost of £1m has been criticised by local people as being dark, gloomy and more fit for a jumble sale than a farmers’ market.
The oak-framed market building, which has already been nominated for an architectural award, is also said to be draughty and, as a result, Barnsley Council is now considering fitting Continental-style roller shutters to keep out the wind.
Coun Anne Rusby, a member of Penistone Town Council, said: “The hall is so dark there is no atmosphere and it feels like being at a jumble sale – not a market.”
Steve Marsh, a member of both Barnsley Council and Penistone Council, said of the market development: “It has not been thought out properly.
“I think there has been more emphasis on winning an award than using it for a market.”
The market has been named as a finalist in the South Yorkshire and Humber LABC Building Excellence Awards, to be held in April.
Shortlisted in the Best Community Project category, the market building was designed by WCEC Architects for Barnsley Council and constructed by Carpenter Oak Ltd.
A spokesman for Barnsley Council described it as “possibly the largest public oak frame for hundreds of years” and said it “reflects the architecture and materials of the area, creating a distinctive contemporary building for the town and the community”.
The controversial market building is part of the wider £15m redevelopment of Penistone town centre by Barnsley-based Dransfield Properties.
The centrepiece of that project is a new Tesco supermarket, which opened its doors at the end of August last year.
Also included in the scheme were new fire and ambulance stations, a 190-space town centre car park, an all-weather bowling green and a new access road.
More recently, the developer has submitted plans to Barnsley Council for the Penistone Gateway project, which will see 21 new offices being built.
Dransfield Properties says the building, on land which fronts St Mary’s Street and the Tesco access road, will be a “new high-quality commercial development on a run-down piece of land close to the town centre”.
Development surveyor at the firm, David Hale, said: “This is the final piece of the jigsaw in our plans for Penistone town centre.
“The development we are proposing is on a key site in the town and is one of the first things visitors see when they come in to Penistone.”
Work on the office block could begin later this year.
The next farmers’ market will be held in Penistone on Saturday, March 12.
About 10 stallholders are booked so far and will be selling produce including bread, cakes, meat, crafts, honey and hand-made chocolates.