Renovations must wait for new-look market hall

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LONG-AWAITED work to revamp Chesterfield’s market hall will be delayed by six months after the council decided to seek a new construction partner.

The authority said it was not proceeding with Wates Construction on the £4 million renovation because a price agreement could not be reached.

Work was due to start on the town centre site in February this year and has now been put back to an expected start in late summer.

A fresh invitation to businesses to tender for the scheme has now been issued.

Coun John Burrows, council leader, said: “It’s disappointing that we’ve not been able to accept Wates’ tender, but ultimately we could not reach agreement on price.

“Although a re-tender will mean a six-month delay to the project, we believe that by opening the contract up to fresh competition, the council will be able to get the best possible price for the work.”

Wates Construction said it had ‘worked hard’ to try to bring the project in the council’s financial limitations.

Andy Hands, Wates Construction business manager for the Midlands region, said: “In times of austerity we appreciate the need for tight financial planning but we were unable to feasibly deliver the project within the budget.

“It is with regret we will not be delivering the market hall.

“We look forward to working with the council in future.”

The huge project is to involve several improvements to the market hall.

The roof will be replaced with a glazed atrium, and the assembly rooms will be completely refurbished.

New entrances will be created, new toilets will be added to make the market facilities more modern, and the market cafe will be moved to a newly levelled position on the ground floor.

Coun Burrows insisted the council remained committed to the project, which is being partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Chesterfield Townscape Heritage Initiative.

Coun Burrows said: “This is an exciting scheme which will transform the market hall and reinforce Chesterfield’s famous markets.

“The delay is frustrating but for now it’s business as usual and the market hall will remain open six days a week until further notice.”