Leicester’s historic market is set to move to a temporary new home next year ahead of works to bring it into the 21st Century. A new look fruit-and-veg market is to make its home in Green Dragon Square from next summer, a plan submitted by Leicester City Council reveals.
The temporary relocation would allow the council to execute its plan to modernise the existing site while not interrupting trade for those who have businesses there. The move is expected to last for around a year, if approved by the city’s planning officers.
The traditional market would be updated with a modern touch, designs suggest, with a number of lockable shipping container-style units and new stalls arranged in the square, which is adjacent to the existing site. These would be split between two covered areas to allow pedestrians to move through the site easily, the council has said.
One would be in the centre of the square, with the other backing up against the Corn Exchange pub. There would be 10 lockable containers providing room for 20 traders between them.
The design also includes space for 50 -pop-up' stalls. These will all be under two shared roof canopies to protect them from the elements. The council has said it already owns a number of lockable units which it plans to repurpose for the scheme.
City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby announced the plan to make Leicester Market “fit for the 21st Century” in September. The scheme includes removing the old wooden stalls, taking away sections of the roof to create a more open space and relocating and expanding the café.
Sir Peter said he wanted to create a space that was suitable for modern trading and shopping styles, and which provided an up-to-date and inviting environment. The plan also includes laying new paving, better lighting.
It would also include a shuttered perimeter that would keep the site secure at night. It will cost around £7.5 million, if approved.
Around 70 new stalls would be created to replace the old wooden stalls, creating "an attractive environment for the fruit, veg and other traders", a city council spokesperson previously said. The new stalls would be set out in an improved layout to create better pedestrian routes through the market.
Also, lockable units, featuring green roofs and solar panels, would be installed in front of the indoor food hall to attract new traders and a wider range of quality goods. Sir Peter is also planning to knock through from the Market Place to Cank Street to open up views of the market.
He previously came under fire for a decision to purchase the Gadsby's shop unit to allow the plan to proceed. A formal decision on the proposed investment will be made by Sir Peter and is expected shortly. A full planning application would need to be submitted and approved before any work could take place.