Work to redevelop Halifax Borough Market will be so extensive it would have to close for 18 months – but other options are being explored.
Council officers told members of Calderdale Council Place Scrutiny Board that phasing the work would mean the overall scheme taking longer but was the preferred option of the Cabinet Markets Working Party.
READ: Halifax Borough Market changes: what do you think?
Whether the market would need to close completely while major upgrades were carried out or if it could be phased were among questions put to officers following a presentation about the plans to regenerate the market.
Councillors were updated on the Halifax Borough Market Feasibility Study by Director of Regeneration and Strategy Mark Thompson and two members of his team.
VIDEO: A look inside at the people, the heart and soul of Halifax Borough Market
Following tendering from 13 companies the study contract was awarded to IBI Architects in partnership with energy consultants AECOM, retail consultants Colliers and business consultants Amion.
The team of officers briefed the councillors on a report on the technical building and operation review, public consultation and user group engagement which comprised a steering group set up consisting of market traders, two market employees, the former Chair of the Place Scrutiny Board and councillors, a report on the business and cost plan development including the
“Streets in the Sky” homes built above the market, a report on the options available and an estimate of the funding required to deliver those options.
The public consultation included an online website where users could leave their views and feedback and a stand which was strategically placed in the market for several weeks to enable anyone to leave their feedback.
The stand was also manned for three of the days it was there for anyone to speak to someone personally about proposals.
The report on the Feasibility Study was now complete and officers were currently reviewing the 12 point plan contained within it.
Councillors asked if there would be more opportunity for public consultation on the market and officers said they felt there could be several opportunities for further public consultation.
The online consultation had received 98 responses with a further 250 written responses via the public information stand, the Central Library and the Halifax Tourist Information Centre.
In terms of responses, officers said both positive and negative responses would be included in the review.
Other issues which will be looked at included Sunday opening, “pop up” opportunities for businesses to test their viability and ways of extending the market’s appeal to younger people.
Before the board met at Halifax Town Hall members had visited the market’s “under the clock” area and gave their views to the officers, and also about Russell Street Arcade, and training opportunities for replacing traders who were coming up to retirement with “like for like”.
Recently Cabinet Markets Working Party had advised officers that it was key that the Halifax Borough Market was to retain its uniqueness and local appeal and that it would be preferable that the “Streets in the Sky” be reviewed as a separate issue.
Updates should be brought to future meetings of the board, councillors agreed.