I recently came across a news item on the Warrington Guardian website, dated 3 October 2013, which claimed to show the design for the new Market Hall. This was a large glass shed fronting directly onto Bridge Street, between Dolman’s Lane and Hall’s Yard, engulfing the Grade II listed Howard Building and replacing four other shops. The building over the archway to Hall’s Yard had been removed and replaced by an open access route.
I found other items in local newspaper websites across the region, dated the same day, so there must have been a general press release. There was also a similarly dated bulletin on the council’s website.
According to this, only four weeks had been set aside for the public consultation and, as we stopped taking the local paper when the advertising space started to exceed the news items, I had missed it all at the time.
It was not really what I had been hoping for: the over dominant frontage, the strange embedding of a listed building in a glass structure, the replacement of five individual shops with a single huge block, the destruction of the distinctive character of Hall’s Yard, and the further breaking up of Bridge Street’s historical character – a continuous line punctuated with archways. And why was it suddenly going to be on Bridge Street, when all the plans in the documentation on the council’s website showed it as behind the Conservation Area?