The first stage of the £4.5 million redevelopment of Bolton Market is about to begin.
This week, traders from the non-food section of the indoor market will move in to temporary units that are now in place on the outdoor market.
The non-food section will close on Thursday, February 14 at 5pm, to allow 34 traders selling goods including footwear; bags; make-up; hair accessories; knitwear, and electrical goods to move. They will reopen for business on Tuesday, February 19.
Locally-based contractor Willmott Dixon will then start work to gut the indoor market hall, which was occupied by the non-food traders, so that the interior layout can be remodelled and roof repairs can take place.
Other improvements that will take place to the market include: introducing additional indoor food stalls and a seating area; refurbishing the roof on the fish market; and repairing the roof over the hall which contains the fresh fruit and vegetable traders.
Shoppers are being reassured that throughout the work the fruit and veg, and fish section of the market, and shops attached to the market, including Pillings Chipshop and Smarts Clothing will remain open for business.
The car park on Moor Lane will also be open as usual but the car park on New Street is no longer operational due to the construction work.
Leader of Bolton Council, Councillor Cliff Morris, said: “The market is one of our main shopping destinations and I’m really pleased that work on this project, which will make our market even better, is now starting.
“Moving the traders in to the temporary units will mean that for a few days the non-food section of the market will be unavailable and I’d like to thank both traders and shoppers in advance for their patience and support.
“I want to reassure people that the market will still be open for business while the refurbishment is underway.”
Traders are expected to move back in before Christmas, and work to the car park and servicing area will finish in 2014.
Bolton Market opened in the 1930s and is one of Britain’s oldest food markets. The market has a growing reputation as the premier food market in the north of England, and it was also recently showcased on BBC Inside Out for a project that it runs on getting people to eat healthily.
It has won a number of awards including Best Food Market in the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2011; Best Indoor Market 2010; and Tourism Retailer of the Year 2009.
Up to three million people visit the market annually. The indoor and outdoor market is open Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm. The car boot market is open Sunday, 7.30am to 2pm.