Page 26 - MarketTimesDecember2015
P. 26

who can trace their roots back to 1341. Today’s freemen are descendants of the original royal freeman who were granted the right to pasture land on the East Marsh of Grimsby.
The building of the docks and the development of the fishing industry turned the water meadows into prime real estate, to the benefit of the freemen who were all either born into, married into, or were apprenticed to become enrolled freemen of Grimsby.
Today, the market is their main asset, and hope- fully their decision to invest has secured its future.
Sean said: “East Marsh is one of the most deprived areas in the UK, so there is funding available to community and enterprise groups to make a difference here.”
The freemen earmarked £1.4 million to transform the market, and invested a further £700,000 in the creation of a community and office hub under the same roof, an amount that was match funded by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
“We carried out the redevelopment work in sections over four years, “ Sean said. “Before we started the market was in quite a bad way and there were spaces, which meant we could move
the traders around while we worked on the four different sections.”
Sean said the vision was to create a bright, modern, airy market within the existing building to give the traders an environment that would allow them to do their best.
It was also important to create a community hub that could be used as an attractive venue for a variety of community services and events.
Above all, Sean said, they wanted to retain the feel and character of a market, but make it a modern, welcoming environment.
The result is impressive. There are now 50 businesses in 35 stalls and the occupancy rate is up to 90 per cent.
The improvements to the market include new floors, new lighting, new toilets and an incredibly imaginative array of new stalls and units, ranging from an area for barrows to a range of traditional stalls with canopies, glass self-contained units and a large cobbled courtyard area with a spacious cafe seating area and units ranging from half-timbered shop-style units to a thatched cottage housing a hairdressers.
The wide aisles create a natural flow through the market and give a feeling of space, whilst the four
market cafes in different areas bring people into the building and create an opportunity for shoppers to linger and enjoy a meal or a hot drink.
The office and community space, which makes use of a first floor created under the roof, is equally impressive.
There are 16 offices, three training rooms, a seminar room and a boardroom. It is now home to community-based groups including a home care provider, an organisation trying to improve the skills of ex-offenders, a mental health charity, a charity helping victims of domestic violence, and other similar organisations.
The rooms are used by training providers, community dance and theatre groups, among others.
Sean said: “Naturally the traders had their concerns at the outset, but once we had built the first stalls they could see we were going to do a good job. The traders really appreciate what has been done to improve the market and they have upped their game.”
But unpredictable issues have cast a shadow over a successful project. Steve said: “Footfall is an issue and we are working with the traders to address this.”
Rick Lovelace is the market’s flower man and also chairs the NMTF branch
Joe Clarke has been running a market business at Freeman Street market selling bedding, throws and towels for the past 12 months after retiring from the oil and gas business where he worked in health and safety
  Steve Gotts (left), the manager of Freeman Street Market in Grimsby, is pictured with Sean McGarel, the development manager who masterminded the £1.4 million redevelopment of the market and the creation of a community and venue centre under the same roof, also at a cost of £1.4 million
   Richard Edwards has been the key cutter and shoe repairer on Freeman Street market for the past seven years. Before that he worked for someone else doing the same thing on Grimsby’s other market, Top Town
Andy Watson runs Minimatt Films, a video production company and recording studio in one of the market units

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