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New Walsall Market design looks to be changed

Walsall | News | Published:

Changes will be made to the design of a new-look market in the Black Country following mixed feedback to the plans.

Council bosses are looking to create a long-term site for the near 800-year-old Walsall Market and drafted in independent experts in order to help draw up proposals for its future.

But market traders have raised concerns about the robustness of the demountable stalls, whether a back-to-back layout will work and accessibility.

Almost 400 people visited a two-day consultation event at Walsall's New Art Gallery last month and feedback forms have shown a majority of people are in favour of the market being situated at the Bridge and lower Park Street.

The Walsall Markets Working Group now wants extra time for the feasibility study to allow more detailed work to take place. A report on the £1.75m revamp, which will be put before the council's regeneration scrutiny and performance panel during a meeting tonight, said 388 people turned out to the two-day consultation event at the New Art Gallery last month.

From the feedback forms received, just over 60 people favoured the preferred location and layout for the market, with around 20 people against these proposals.

Around 45 traders have also voiced their concerns and the report says traders will continue to help shape the proposals.

Further research is to be carried out to get a better understanding of the operational requirements for the market.

In the report, Jo Nugent, team leader for borough wide development, said: "Following this review of the operating considerations of the proposals, further revisions to the design and layout will be made, and a review of the capital costs to implement the scheme will be made.

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"It may be necessary, depending of the extent of these revisions, for further public and stakeholder consultation to take place.

"A commitment has been made to continue to hold events with the market traders to engage them in the design process, and our existing retailer/ business networks will also be used to keep these stakeholders up to date."

Under the plans, the market would have 70 stalls to reduce the amount that are currently vacant. There are also proposals for a back-to-back layout so stalls face pedestrian routes and adjacent shop fronts.

Traders and storage areas would back onto one another along a central aisle.

The new stalls would also be demountable so when the market is not operating it can act as a public open space.

There would also be an outdoor seating area adjacent to The Bridge and additional bin stores provided.

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