Thousands flock to Wolverhampton Market's official launch – including BGT star Donchez
Stars flocked to Wolverhampton over the weekend as thousands turned out for the official launch of the new city centre market.
Celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli and Britain's Got Talent finalist Donchez Dacres flocked to the Cleveland Street site on Saturday.
The launch event, which took place between 10.30am and 2.30pm, saw Signal 107 provide entertainment throughout the day – including a performance of Donchez's Wiggle and Wine song on stage.
Guests of honour at the launch included the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Phil Page, and National Association of British Market Authorities President, Councillor Chris Rosling-Josephs.
Wolverhampton's MPs Emma Reynolds, Eleanor Smith and Pat McFadden also turned out and spoke with market traders.
After the entrance to the new market was revealed, it immediately faced criticism for being ugly and a waste of money.
But ahead of his performance, Donchez said the £4.9 million project was 'really good' for Wolverhampton.
"The new market is wonderful," he said. "It's very different and I like things that are new. It's really good for the city. It's so good for Wolverhampton, we need to get the city back on the map."
"I am so pleased to be performing in my hometown of Wolverhampton – this is real and something you dream of.
"It's been surreal meeting people coming up to me. The way everyone has taken to the song Wiggle Wine – the love and emotion is wonderful. I'd never thought in a million years that I could have pulled it off.
"When people come to see me sing they enjoy themselves so much and to go on a big stage and pull it off means so much to me. I'm all about the music!"
Market goers met star chef Novelli throughout the day and got the chance to grab one of three recipe cards – with fans also entering a competition to win a signed Novelli Academy apron and 'Simply Novelli' cook book.
The five-out-of-five AA Rosette and multi Michelin Star award-winning chef said: "Visiting this market reminds me of when I was a child, we used to go to the market on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. It was very compact – like it is here – and there would be lots of local produce to choose from.
"There is the freshness and the best quality that you can find and this is really important. You don't want to have to buy too much and you will always discover new ingredients when you visit."
The market has relocated from its former Market Square base and boasts 20 cabins and 48 stalls in total.
Offering the flexibility to trade from bigger cabins, there is event space, a secure site with measures in place to combat hostile vehicles while still allowing access for traders to load and unload.
There is CCTV, integrated lighting and power, free WiFi, canopy covered walkways, offices, customer toilets, and comprehensive parking and storage facilities.
The new market will also provide increased footfall from the Wulfrun Centre and transport Interchange, as well as situating the market in a student catchment area.
Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton council's cabinet member for city environment, said: "The new market, partly funded by the sale of Market Square as part of the Westside scheme, has loads of potential – and we want this to be the people's market, where events are also encouraged.
"It will provide vitality and important footfall to this area of the city and is another example of the regeneration of Wolverhampton."
The Market Square location is to be absorbed into the new £55 million leisure led Westside development by developer Urban&Civic.
This will deliver a multi screen cinema, restaurants, bars, hotel, multi storey car park, apartments, and public realm to the heart of the city centre, in two phases, over five years.
For details on opening times visit @themarketplacewolverhampton on Facebook or @WV_marketplace on Twitter.