IT has taken many years and several false starts, but Barnsley town centre has reached a milestone with the opening of the town’s new market hall.
The development is part of the yet to be finished Glass Works complex, which is at the heart of a £180m regeneration project for the wider town centre and the opening is part of a phased plan to bring the new building into use.
There have been several plans to regenerate the town, with earlier ideas falling victim to the recession. However, the current arrangement honours a council pledge to keep the market at the forefront of the town centre.
Traders had been housed in temporary accommodation while the old Metropolitan Centre was taken back to its skeleton to be reworked for the new centre, including giving the market a higher profile with a new entrance directly onto May Day Green.
That is a direct reversal of the old market arrangement, which had shops frontages facing the street, with the market enveloped behind.
The meat and fish market opened in September and the new hall, covering two floors, has most stalls already taken, with vacant pitches expected to be filled within the next few weeks.
A food mall will also open upstairs in the building, with three existing market cafes moving in first.
Stalls have been tailored to meet the needs of individual traders, though the hall has a modern design which took some ideas from London’s Borough Market.
In addition to the Glass Works, a new library building is under construction and new public areas will be created, including a town square where the temporary market building currently stands.