Long-awaited plans for a major overhaul of one of the major open-air markets in the North of England have been unveiled by council chiefs in York.
York Council has published designs for the revamp of the city’s historic Newgate market, which dates back to the medieval era, after 18 months of talks with traders, residents and businesses. It will see a number of improvements including the updating of snickleways which connect the market and the city’s historic Shambles.
The authority has presented designs for the refurbishment of Newgate market to market stallholders and will shortly be revealing prototype stalls.
Market trader Rupert Harrison, of Black Yak Ltd, said: “The council has consulted us fully, listened to our concerns and advice and we’re 90 per cent positive, with just 10 per cent wrinkles to iron out.
“This will be a real shot in the arm for the market.”
York Council has long acknowledged that major investment is needed to ensure the city’s historic Newgate Market continues to operate.
The market, which is located in the city centre between The Shambles and Parliament Street and has about 100 stalls most days, has been at the heart of York’s trade throughout the centuries. But concerns have been voiced the site needs investment to attract more shoppers.
Research conducted in autumn last year showed all those who took part agreed the market needs “sprucing up” and the new designs should complement the distinctive York character. All those consulted agreed the south-eastern end of the market needed to become more vibrant and that music and entertainment and more food on offer would enhance the market atmosphere.
In addition, improved signs and promotion and information about the market was needed for traders and city centre users.
Coun Sonja Crisp, cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “Following that consensus of opinion, footfall from not only Parliament Street, but the Shambles, Kings Square and Church Street will be enhanced to draw shoppers in. The snickelways have connected the internationally-known Shambles – voted Britain’s Prettiest Street by Google Street View Awards – to the market area for centuries.
“These links will be upgraded and illuminated to complement the medieval architecture and to encourage more people to move between the two shopping areas.
“Once in the market, the new designs aim to encourage shoppers to move more freely and widely through the market with its broader range of stall types to further improve the breadth of shopping. They will be encouraged to come more often, stay longer and so increase their spend, with an improved food offer and seating areas where live music will be encouraged.”
Refurbished stall prototypes will be installed in the market this weekend. They will feature modifications to the drainage and general lighting systems, as well as new paintwork and canopies.
The new canopies have been designed to be more weather resistant, while translucent fabric options are being trialled to allow more natural light – but not the heat – through in summer.