Burnley Open Market to be bulldozed?

Burnley's open market is all set to be demolished in a bid to improve the market hall complex's appearance.

Thursday, 4th February 2016, 7:36 am
Updated Thursday, 4th February 2016, 7:39 am
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Councillors are being asked to approve recommendations that would see the open market, only open one day a week for bric-a-brac, closed and demolished with the main market hall continuing to trade.

Coun. Sue Graham, the council’s Executive member for regeneration and economic development, said: “The council is committed to taking a responsible and financially sound approach while, at the same time, fully considering the wishes of shoppers and traders.

“If the proposals are agreed, work would start early 2017 and be completed spring 2018. The work has been planned so that it avoids disruption in the town centre in the busy Christmas season. The main market hall would remain open and it would be ‘business as usual’.”

The work would include demolishing the former cinema block and open market, together with the pedestrian and vehicle ramps across Curzon Street.

A report by Kate Ingram, the council’s head of regeneration and economic development, said: “The Burnley Market complex is suffering from a number of serious structural issues which present significant risks and cost implications to the council. The open market area and ramps require signficant investment over coming years if they are to be maintained. The use of the area only one day per week does not justify the use of scarce funds.”

The council is writing to market traders and meeting with them to discuss the proposals and to emphasise that the market hall will remain open for business throughout any work. The council is also planning to carry on publicising the main hall and raising its profile to attract new shoppers.

The markets complex is split in two with the main market hall open six days a week with fixed stalls. Occupancy levels in the main market hall have increased to 83% while visitor numbers are up to an average of just under 24,500 visits a week.

The report will be discussed at a meeting of the Executive on February 15th,