Preston Markets to '˜become a hub' for city

Right on schedule '“ the £3m redevelopment of Preston Market is well under way.

Monday, 24th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:21 pm
Photo Neil Cross Ongoing work at Preston Market to redevelop the outdoor area Site Manager Mark Pallett

In a few months’ time there will be a brand new glazed indoor market hall in the heart of the city.

And that is only the start of what council chiefs and residents hope will be a brand new lease of life for what is being dubbed the “Markets Quarter.”

Eventually the area will have a state-of-the-art market hall, cinema, and other attractions which council chiefs and planners hope wil prove a magnet for daytime and night-time visitors.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Photo Neil Cross Ongoing work at Preston Market to redevelop the outdoor area

Piling work has now begun on site by contractors Conlon Construction.

Only half a dozen or so workers are on site at the moment but that will rise to more than 30 as the work progresses.It is expected to be complete by Christmas.

Chairman Michael Conlon said he had high hopes about the effect the tranformation of the area would have.

He said: “We have completed a similar scheme at Altrincham market - a Victorian market in the middle of the town.

Photo Neil Cross Ongoing work at Preston Market to redevelop the outdoor area

“It has definitely brought the town up – people are going out at night and trying out the local food and drink and it has become a destination.

“With the cinema nearby and other restaurants I very much hope this will happen in Preston too.”

Work on the Market Hall project began in March

The indoor market is still open, and traders from there will soon be able to apply for a move to the new covered indoor market. Other outdoor traders have been moved to the nearby covered Fish Market, which will become a “box market”.

Photo Neil Cross Ongoing work at Preston Market to redevelop the outdoor area

The current indoor market will eventually be flattened to make way for the cinema.

Mr Conlon said that while work was going on, his firm were conscious that other people were trying to make a living.

He said: “We are trying our best to look after the people who are our neighbours.

“We are liaising with the market traders and letting people know exactly what is happening.”

Photo Neil Cross Ongoing work at Preston Market to redevelop the outdoor area

The new Market Hall will be anchored by a strong food offer in the form of butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and dairy produce supplemented by ready-to-eat food such as sandwich stalls and ethnic food.

Around three-quarters of the new market hall will be allocated to food stalls.

Piling at the market is progressing well and is about 75 per cent complete.

This process prepares the ground for installation of concrete ground beams which will support steel columns. These columns will then form the structure of the new market hall.

The work on cutting away the balcony in front of the former Fryers Fayre has now been completed which will enable further works, crucial to the project, to take place in this area.

Reduced level excavation has already started on the surface underneath the larger covered Market canopy. The removal of the upper surface has revealed the original cobbles below

Norman Young, of the Banana King stall in the indoor market, said he was looking forward to the new market hall being completed.

He said: “We are getting excited now - you can see bulldozers going and things starting to take shape.

“It’s amazing to see all the original cobbles that have been unearthed. I hope they re-use them in some way.”

Adrian Phillips, director of environment at Preston Council, said: “This is a very exciting time for Preston Markets and the city with works well underway on the building of the new market hall. The completed structure will complement the restored Victorian grade II listed canopy it sits under, with each phase bringing us a step closer to a completed market.

“The piling currently taking place is preparing the ground for beams which will support steel columns forming the frame of the new structure. Over the coming weeks and months Prestonians will see their new market hall and box market really start to take shape.”