Page 40 - Demo
P. 40

 Options for Darlington
Market’s multi-million pound
redevelopment are unveiled
LONG-AWAITED plans for the multi-million pound redevelopment of Darlington’s indoor market have been unveiled — and there’s a choice.
In an informal consultation exercise, the owners, Market Asset Management (MAM), are asking traders, retailers and the public which of two options they prefer.
The first would see MAM (Darlington) Ltd invest £2 million in improvement work including essential engineering and maintenance, new toilets, new lighting and flooring, new stalls and retail space for a specialist Market Republic that would sell fresh food, local produce and other quality lines from local suppliers. In addition there would be new offices created on the mezzanine to encourage start-up businesses.
This option would involve opening up the market and replacing wood panelling dating from the 1970s with glass to create a light, airy ambience.
The second option involves everything in the first option as well as an imaginative plan to make use of the existing overhead canopy and create a “winter garden” style retail, leisure and community space featuring floor to ceiling heritage glass, at an additional cost of £1.5 million.
The new space opening on to the market square would have bars, eateries and entertainment. It would stay open into the evening, creating a destination attraction in Darlington which, like so many towns, is suffering from an ailing High Street and town centre.
Designed by Darlington-born architect Johnathan Thorns, the plans for the
Alex Nicholson is market manager of Darlington market
Market Hall and East Row – what Darlington Market Hall could look like
   conservatory-style option will include plants inspired by Joseph Pease, a railway pioneer and philanthropist from the town who had a wide collection of plants.
Ian Williams, Darlington Borough Council’s director for economic growth and neighbourhood services, said: “We want as many people to get involved as possible. Public opinion will help inform the council’s decision whether to opt for the extra investment or not.”
And for the traders, the redevelopment cannot come soon enough.
Nicholas Fenwick, who has worked on the family butchers stall for the past 34 years, said: “Like other traders, I just want it to happen.
Footfall is down and it is getting harder for traders as time goes by. But if it does happen, it will be fantastic,” he added.
He said they had had previous disappointments and false hope, so their main concern was that redevelopment goes ahead as quickly as possible.
The Grade II listed market with its iconic clock tower has been the hub of Darlington’s retail life and heritage since it was built in 1863.
But traders feared for their livelihoods several years ago when the council announced it could not afford the multi-million pound investment the market needed and it was seeking a buyer.

   38   39   40   41   42