Page 20 - Demo
P. 20

 Doncaster’s wool market reopens following £4.5 million transformation By NICOLA GOULD
 DONCASTER’S wool market has reopened following a multi-million pound refurbish- ment that has seen the dowdy, half-empty market transformed into a glazed emporium with street food as its hub.
The refurbishment, funded mainly by Sheffield City Region Investment Fund, is the first piece of the jigsaw in the Yorkshire town centre’s regeneration, according to the town’s elected mayor Ros Jones.
Dating from 1868, the Grade II listed building was once a trading place where not just wool but linen, leather and other goods were sold, alongside the Irish middle market outside, named after the Irish cattle once bought and sold there.
The large site is also home to several other markets — the outdoor market, the adjacent Corn Exchange and an impressive food hall.
Two years ago the council approved an ambitious plan to transform the wool market into a destination attraction which would give locals and visitors a reason to come into
Doncaster town centre.
Market manager Richard Gibbons said: “The
old market had become very run down. There were 120 units but vacancies were running at 60 per cent.”
He said the plan was to strip the market back to its original fabric and transform it into a bright, modern market fit for the 21st century, with fewer units including 12 street food businesses in a horseshoe shape at its heart.
The scheme involved demolishing the Irish middle market which had become very ramshackle and extending the car park to create 94 additional car parking spaces.
They appointed Colchester-based Quarterbridge as market consultants. Then the designers came up with a scheme that involved creating glass frontages where there had been ugly metal shutters, numerous entrances and building swish units with a layout designed to encourage footfall around the building.
It included a new floor, communal seating areas, an events space, a stage where cookery
demonstrations and live performances could take place, new toilets, cameras and screens, free wi-fi for traders and the public, and a new extraction system.
Richard said the existing traders were moved to new locations in the town’s other markets or in shops in the town centre to allow the work to start in January 2018.
Several retired and by the time the work was completed most were happy and settled in their new locations. In the end only two traders returned.
Not everything went to plan. “Unfortunately there were some unforeseen roof repairs needed and we also discovered a medieval well under the floor,” Richard said.
Fortunately it was in a location that didn’t affect the refurbishment — so the designers glassed over it and it has become a feature. But one metre either way and all the plans would have had to be changed, he said.
Hayden Ferriby, business development director for Quarterbridge, said: “We know that

   18   19   20   21   22