It’s only two weeks late and probably over-budget, but Wakefield’s new market hall opened for business this morning.
Good to see that among the stalls which are there are Cryer & Stott (the cheesemongers, who frequently take vast amounts of money from me for cheesey goodness), Mark the Greengrocer who used to be outside on the north entrance to the old market hall, and a fishmonger who doesn’t open on Mondays although I’ll probably pay a trip tomorrow. It was good to be recognised by some of the traders – I’m a big proponent of supporting your local market and doing at least some of your weekly shopping there.
So what of the building? It’s a lot more airy than the old market, although I’m not sure of the wisdom of the higgledy-piggledy way that the stalls have been arranged to make it look more busy than it actually is; also the food market is woefully small – I counted 5 stalls, with another 4 pitches left empty. Wakefield Council stated in a press release that all the inside stalls had been let but it does seem a bit sparse. The cynic in me would suggest that maybe it’s like that to prevent it looking smaller than the old market hall, which it most certainly is.
There’s bugger all recent coverage over at Wakefield Express save for a “coming soon” type article, but the council’s own web announcement is here, which also has opening times and details of “specialist days”. There’ll be an official opening in a few weeks presumably when everyone’s moved in and the place is actually finished.
[ On that note, chatting to the traders it seems that they’ve only been allowed in this morning. The café owner told me that there was quite an issue regarding getting access for builders and electricians recently, and several outdoor traders were on temporary pitches as their permanent ones were inaccessible. Mark mentioned that the place was still gated with the protective builders’ barriers when he arrived this morning! ].
However, it shows promise. It’s an airy place to do your shopping and definitely needs to be supported by the community. Might have just been the curiosity of the first day, the place being smaller and more warren-like, or just the time of day, but it did seem a lot busier this morning.
Previous photos of the move from the old market and construction of the new market here.