Newcastle's Grainger Market is poised to undergo a refurbishment programme worth more than £800,000 – the building’s largest investment programme in more than 10 years.
The historic covered market, which is home to more than 100 small businesses in the heart of the Grainger Town area, has secured funding worth £820,000 to upgrade each of the entrance ways.
The council has been keen to upgrade all 14 of the entrances, with inner gates and outward facing shutters, for some time.
The peripheral exits, the shutters facing out onto the street, are owned by the businesses on the outside of the market and are merely managed by Newcastle City Council.
But, keen to keep up with ongoing regeneration within the surrounding areas, the council’s markets division has secured funds through the council’s Capital Investment Fund, saying brightening the entrances is key to maintaining its popularity.
Footfall is currently between 7.3 and 7.5m visitors a year, a figure that recently fallen year-on-year by 2%, but the figure will hopefully rise as new customers discover the market through its increased social media presence.
In response, each entrance will soon be replaced with folding doors, painted in a ‘heritage’ colour yet to be decided.
Lights above the entrance will be cleaned up and inner mesh gates, will also be upgraded and signage will also be placed on pavements on the surrounding streets, together with markings on paving slabs by each entrance.
Work is set to start in June at the market, which celebrates its 180th birthday this October, once the council has gained permission from itself to move forward, using money previously earmarked from its capital investment fund.
The council’s director of communities, Mick Murphy, said: “The market celebrates its 180th birthday this year and now has a presence on Trip Advisor, where it gets great reviews, and we want to see this grow.
“This is the biggest project we will carry out at the market in 10 years and means we can refurbish all 14 of the entrances which need updating.
“We are trying to really encourage more footfall through the market from the surrounding streets, and make it much more inviting to shoppers and visitors.”
The project forms the largest investment into the John Dobson-designed market in 10 years, when £3.3m was spent on refurbishing more than 70 units, upgrading the public toilets, installing CCTV and drawing up a conservation masterplan with Historic England.