STALLHOLDERS are making preparations for the biggest change to affect Sheffield’s markets in their history - the move to a new £17 million home on The Moor.
More than 200 expressions of interest have been received from potential businesses hoping to locate there - not including the existing 112 stallholders in Castle Market, Sheffield Council said.
Successful applicants, including those in Castle, will have to apply and produce a business plan - to effectively pass the council’s quality control and try to ensure a good mix of tenants in the building now under construction on The Moor.
First refusal will be given to Castle traders.
A key aim is to ensure the stalls - just under 200 will attract a wider range of customers in a similar fashion to Continental Europe.
“This is an exciting project,” said Coun Leigh Bramall, council cabinet member for business, skills and development.
“We have got a once-in-a generation opportunity to broaden the appeal of the market and provide really good quality food and a wide choice.”
One idea is to have ‘high quality’ restaurants, which buy produce from the market, giving food demonstrations.
Already, based on research findings and the strong interest in cookery programmes and organic food, it has been decided to change the balance of the markets in favour of food.
The balance, which is currently about 50-50 in Castle, will become more like 70-30, when the Moor market hall opens this time next year.
Existing market traders preparing to move are nervous about new rents they see as key to the success of the relocation.
Eventually they will be double the current discounted levels.
Ian Bingham, vice president of the Sheffield branch of the National Market Traders Federation, said: “The thing we don’t want to take away is the atmosphere - the banter between customers and our traders.”