Executive Summary – Key Outputs
To recap – the Masterplan identifies three phases of development:
A food store of 6,800sqm (2,600sqm at mezzanine level); a market of 4,356sqm; retail space of 6,270sqm; offices totalling 1,093sqm. An underground car park with 555 parking spaces (200 for food store). Sixty apartments.
A new hotel/JJB/offices/residential block; additional retail space of 1,425sqm; additional offices totalling 4,353 sqm. An additional eighty-five apartments.
A further ninety apartments.
Analysis – Market 4,356sqm
Warrington has been a market town since 1277: originally held at the crossing point of the town’s four main streets, Market Gate; it moved to a large, open space by the heath to the north-west of the town, sometime before 1465. It remained there for just over 500 years when it was moved to its present site, west of Upper Bank Street, in the 1970s and the Victorian Market halls demolished for the Golden Square indoor shopping centre.
The ‘considerable’ market of medieval times was noted for linen cloth, corn, cattle, provisions, and fish, ‘particularly lampreys’. (This latter strength is still evident today with a Warrington stall holder winning Young Fishmonger of the Year in 2010.) The modern-day market, based in a 1970s purpose-built Market Hall, contains 200 stalls and 130 independent businesses and is claimed by the council on its website to be one of the largest in the North West.
The new Market will presumably be at least equal to this size in order to maintain its regional position. I have always had rather a soft spot for the inside of the old 70s market, though the exterior was pretty depressing. This is a chance for a really impressive building and it will be interesting to see what the developers make of it.
Points for Discussion – Market 4,356sqm
What is the floor space of the existing market? Will this proposed 4,356sqm make the new Market Hall larger or the same size as the old one?
What is the rationale for demolishing, rather than renovating, the existing market?
Where will the existing traders go while the new market is built or will the new market be built first?
Will it be on more than one level like the food store?
Will the disruption of rebuilding affect trade? Will rents be reduced during the period of rebuilding to take account of this? Has this been built into the overall budget?
Will rents in the new Market Hall be increased or stay the same? If increased, by how much?
Will the presence of a large food store so close to the Market Hall adversely affect business?