The Open Market has been running since the 1920s.
The Open Market has been running since the 1920s. Over time, however, it became clear that this vital city-centre space needed a facelift.
In 2006, a group of stallholders approached the council looking to redevelop the Open Market. The council supported the scheme and - working with market traders, a housing association, and developers - agreed for building work to begin in 2012.
It has been a long journey over these past eight years. And, as with all big projects, there were a few hiccups. I am, however, absolutely delighted that this weekend sees the official launch event for the brand new Open Market.
Replacing the old and outdated market is a new all-weather covered square, with a large central space for a range of temporary markets, activities, and entertainment; 45 permanent tenants have moved into their stalls, offering fresh, locally-sourced food and goods, as well as a variety of arts, crafts, services and garden goods. There are also 12 workshops on the upper floor, for arts and crafts businesses. Some of these traders have been at the Open Market for some 30 years.
A major new addition to the bigger and better commercial space is almost 90 affordable homes built alongside the development - a huge benefit to those looking for a home in our city. And the market toilets will be available for public use during opening hours - which is especially important in our busy city centre.
The London Road area had previously been in decline for many years. But hard work from local businesses and the council means in the past few years we’ve seen under-used spaces and buildings - including The Level, Providence Place, the New England Quarter, and the old Co-op - filled with new activities, businesses, and homes.
The redevelopment of the Open Market is a real testament to our success in regenerating this important city-centre neighbourhood.