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Market to undergo £2M refurbishment

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he much-loved market, which temporarily closed on 11th June, will be stripped of its 1970s feel and turned into a bright, modern place to shop.

The project will see the market spread over two floors with a new, light, central atrium, new seating area, cafés, new public toilets, lifts and Wi-Fi.

It is anticipated the work will be completed in time for Christmas trading, and traders are expecting to return in October.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “St John’s Market has being looking tired and dated for a very long time and it is not a bright or particularly welcoming place to shop.

“It still has the feel of the 1970s and is very much in need of modernisation to meet the needs and expectations of today’s shoppers.

“It will see the market transformed into a much more up-to-date, brighter and more airy environment in keeping with current shopping trends.

“We also want to make it more attractive from the outside. Currently people can walk past its entrance in Elliot Street without realising they are outside a market.

“We believe the new entrance and signage will attract many more shoppers when combined with the work we are doing outside to install new paving and landscaping.”

The £2m regeneration project was approved by council chiefs in July 2014 and had been set to begin in April last year.

It will see a modernised entrance on Elliot Street, with the approach to the market being opened and signs being put in to make it more visible and welcoming to customers.

There will also be 20 new stalls and a space for ‘pop-up’ specialist markets such as antiques, craft or vintage clothing.

Following consultation with traders, a plan to keep the market open was withdrawn as it was not feasible due to potential level of disruption, environmental and health and safety issues.

Ged James, from the St John’s Market Traders Association, said: “We have all faced difficult times in the last few years with a downturn in business.

“We hope it will attract shoppers of all ages, and that it will bring back the feel of the old market in modern surroundings.”

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