Artisanal food market plan would save historic Burton Hall, activists say

A campaign group says running an artisanal food court could be the way to turn the tide of the struggling Burton market, which is losing tens of thousands of pounds a year.

Love Burton, the group hoping to end a controversial project that could see the Burton Library move to the Market Hall and traders relocate, believes operating an artisan food market and food hall alongside the Existing traders would guarantee a prosperous future for the market hall in the Marketplace.

Burton recently received £ 22.8million in cash from the government to regenerate the town and £ 7.3million could be spent to move the library from its building from Meadowside Drive to the Market Hall to increase the attendance in the city center. Another million pounds would come from Staffordshire County Council, which owns the library, to pay for the move.

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Campaigners claim the plan is a waste of money, would reduce current library service, and leave market traders without a room and moved to another location in town. They also don’t want to see the current library site lost to development.

However, the Burton Town Deal Board, which is in charge of the proposal, said moving the library to the market hall would secure the future of the market hall and increase attendance, which would be better for the city center. .

Board says if decision does not take place taxpayers will have to pay around £ 800,000 [in one go] in maintenance for the library building of the 1970s.

Love Burton member Trevor Wright told Staffordshire Live: “Food halls and markets are open in former department store buildings such as Worcester and Hull.

“Crewe has just renovated their hall as part of a regeneration plan, including a food hall. Derby is halfway through a project similar to the one we are proposing and they think it will attract people from the center of Derbion towards the old parts of the city.

“Stafford is in the process of creating a new market hall as part of its downtown regeneration plans funded in part by government grants.

“Even Coalville, just up the street, has moved their market to a new hall which will include a small version of the food hall concept. Many cities would give their last dollar to have our iconic Great Victorian Market Hall in their downtown area.

“This is something Burton needs to do to enable independent traders in the High Street and Station Street areas to benefit from it and to draw people out of the covered malls. Burton Market Hall is just a few yards away. of a department store that draws large crowds -Primark. “

When asked who would be responsible for running the dining room, Mr Wright admitted he would rely on a private operator to take the reins.

He said: “It seems to our group that with a new management of experts and a relatively low investment, the hall could generate a fairly significant additional attendance beyond the current quarter of a million visitors. [each year].

“A vibrant market hall would help the open-air market and energize the independent boutiques Market Place and Abbey Arcade.

“Niche independent traders would be attracted to the type of market hall we envision because they have the same type of clientele.

“This should help this region attract customers who are currently traveling to Lichfield, Belper and Ashbourne.

“Burton Market Hall has around 10 empty units, as well as areas for pop-up stalls. We are considering the arrival of new traders to sell fruit and vegetables, cheese and cold cuts, artisan breads, pies and cakes; teas and coffees.

“The food hall concept would see more hot food stalls with seating, selling stone-baked pizzas, desserts and ice cream; tapas / meze style dishes, craft beers and wine – things that are not currently readily available.

“These new merchants would complement the current businesses that currently trade in the hall, but the presentation and overall layout would be improved and the hall would become an experience and a must-see place that complements the department stores and national stores that we have already have.

“The market hall would also be a place to house craft stalls, craft retailers, artists, collectors and vintage items.

“Visiting craft fairs, farmers’ markets and continental markets would complement the permanent traders.

“The market hall also has an important role to play in improving the city’s nightlife economy. The food hall element of the hall could start in the evening.

“Meanwhile, pop-up booths would be phased out to allow for evening events and entertainment. Musical events, touring productions, fashion shows and exhibitions, such as Comic Con, can be hosted. “

Love Burton’s alternative proposals also include the transformation of Burton’s iconic Bass Water Tower into a library. Ben Robinson, chairman of the board of directors for Burton Town Deal, previously said the board welcomes contributions from residents and community groups to Towns Fund projects and is grateful to the Love Burton group for their proposals.

The board has already submitted general plans, as included in an official project document to the central government, where the deadline for submission was Monday, May 24.

However, Mr Robinson said, the proposed relocation of the library would be subject to a lengthy public consultation program that will begin this summer.

Mr Robinson said: “We are focusing on the next stages of development of the seven projects through the business case of the procedure with a series of public commitments.”

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Critical vote on temporary Birkenhead market plan delayed

A decisive vote on plans to move the Birkenhead market to a temporary site has been delayed after a backlash from traders.

In recent months, traders have grown angry with the Wirral Council, which operates Birkenhead Market, saying plans to temporarily move it to St Werburghs Square risked ending the market and its history, which began in 1835.

The move to St Werburghs Square is expected to take place early next year and take at least three years until a new permanent market is built.

The main concerns of traders are that the new stalls will not be big enough, there aren’t enough numbers, and more than half are outdoors and may not attract customers outside of the summer months.

With 21 stalls indoors and 24 outdoors, many fear this will push longtime stall owners out of the market.

Given these concerns, it is understood that a key committee vote on the move to St Werburghs Square has been postponed from June 8 until September, it is understood.

Discussing the plan for St Werburghs Square, Andrew Porter, who runs the Quickprint and Accessories booth at Birkenhead Market, said: “There are too many ifs and buts about it.

“They did not come back to us with a price for these kiosks [in which the outdoor stalls will be located].

“These kiosks have to be set up and taken down every day, we will have to refuel every day.”

Mr Porter was also annoyed that traders were not entitled to a booth under the plan.

He said: “I have been here 10 years and have to put on a case to see if I am viable to enter the temporary market, that should be the case if you have a stand if you want it.”

Lack of space in the outdoor booths was also a problem for Mr Porter, he believed there would not be enough space to clearly display all of his items.

He added: “80% of traders will walk if this continues and the legacy of the council will essentially be to get rid of the market that has been around since 1835”.

Janet French, who runs a watch store in Birkenhead Market with her husband Paul French, said: “It upsets me, it’s the only job we’ve ever had.

“I have been in the market since 1986, which is what we have always done. We pay just under £ 245 per week for the stand.

“It’s cheaper for me to find a job, but I like the market, it’s good that people don’t have to come in, they can just walk past and be drawn in. ”

She felt that St Werburghs Square was not suitable for the needs of her stand.

Ms. French added: “There is nothing in there that suits me, I wish I could settle down every day but it’s impossible.

“There are too many things, we would have to transport lots of stock. I am convinced that we should consider another place and it breaks my heart. ”

Tom Roberts has run Moneysworth butchers in the market for 39 years. He agreed that the size of the new stalls was an issue.

However, he added: “If that’s the only option, we’re good to go.

“I’m not very happy with the size of the store, but if it’s the only option we have, I’m happy to have a job.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Green Party adviser Pat Cleary said, “I feel the council listened to the Green Quarter councilors and their representations made on behalf of the traders.”

The Birkenhead and Tranmere advisor added: “There has to be a dual offering, with the current solution suitable for food retailers and a solution to bring so many non-food traders together in one place.

“We want the board to explore this possibility. ”

Representing the same service, Cllr Steve Hayes, who sits with the independent group of Wirral Council, said: “Although the current proposal is a small site and may prove inappropriate for many traders due to the style and size of the company that they are currently running, I still hope there will be a way to find alternatives for those who don’t think it is wrong for them so that they can continue to trade.

“You have to understand that this is a temporary site and that the new main market to be built will be a better proposition for many more traders.”

Mick Whitley, Labor MP for Birkenhead, said: “My role as an MP is to make sure that the voice of traders is heard by those who make decisions and that the views of traders have a real influence on the result.

“Over the next period, I intend to meet regularly with affected parties to discuss a range of options that may address the concerns of traders.

“All of the options discussed regarding alternative locations, possible store space and accommodation for all merchants who wish to stay in business should be on the table.

“The traders have served Birkenhead for many years and I think Birkenhead owes them all a fair deal going forward.”

A spokesperson for the Wirral Council said: “City councilors and local councilors recently met with traders to discuss concerns about the proposals for the temporary relocation of Birkenhead market and to further examine the options available.

“A report to be presented to the Economy, Regeneration and Development Committee next week on the temporary relocation of Birkenhead Market has been postponed to allow this additional work to take place.

“The relocation of the market is planned for the period of construction of a new market and the objective of the council has always been to guarantee the companies of the market the continuity of the exchanges during the redevelopment.

“The success and future viability of the Birkenhead market is a crucial part of the council’s ambitions for the city’s large-scale regeneration, a significant part of which is already underway in the city center.

“It is understood that some traders have concerns about their businesses and the board has made it clear that the authority will continue to work closely with traders in Birkenhead market and will do everything in our power to address their concerns. to ensure that Birkenhead Market remains in the heart of the city. the commercial offer of the center.

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