Market drops traditional atmosphere for ‘department store’ appeal

Banished: Barnsley's traditional market will give way to a 'department store' experience for shoppers
Banished: Barnsley's traditional market will give way to a 'department store' experience for shoppers

Market customers in Barnsley are being promised a department store experience in favour of the cheap and cheerful image shoppers might expect when the town’s new Glass Works centre opens next month.

The shopping and leisure complex is opening on a phased basis as work is completed and the market section will open up on Friday November 2, with Barnsley Council promising a new experience for shoppers who have been used to the covered and semi-open markets designed in the early 1970s as part of the old Metropolitan Centre.

It is expected that more than 80 stalls will be occupied when trading starts, with the vacant pitches expected to be filled over the coming months, with 53 stalls operating on the ground floor from the start of trading and another 32 from 40 available upstairs.

Barnsley Council say the environment for the market is bright and modern, “more akin to a department store”,  which should provide a stark contrast to the dated surroundings of the old market.

The opening is the biggest leap forwards so far in the development of the Glass Works, with the meat and fish market opening last month, though many of the stalls in that section are still awaiting traders.

Although trading will start on November 2, an ‘official opening’ is planned the following day, with Mayor Coun Steve Green ringing the town’s market bell to symbolise the opening at 10am, following a speech from council leader Sir Steve Houghton.

Trading from the old semi-open market, which had been used as a transition local while the new accommodation was built, has now ceased ahead of the demolition of the multi-storey car park above, and the May Day Green market will continue to trade until October 27.

Extended opening hours – including Thursdays – will be a feature of the new market.

A forthcoming phase of the development will be a food court, with details to be announced soon. The council has been looking for an outside company to manage that part of the site.

Coun Roy Miller said: “The opening of Barnsley Market Hall will be a fantastic occasion. We’re extremely excited to welcome the traders into The Glass Works and right back into the heart of Barnsley town centre.

“The redevelopment of our town centre is built around our famous market.

“Barnsley has had a market since 1249; it’s what we’re famous for and that’s why the new market is at the centre of The Glass Works. People from far and wide will want to visit the famous Barnsley Market and celebrate what’s sure to be a fantastic next chapter in its rich history.”

A temporary building put up in May Day Green to house the market during the regeneration work is to be sold on by the council.

Demolition work on the multi-storey car park is due to start in January.