The new market hall run by Chesterfield Borough Council has been officially named as the UK’s best small indoor market.
The market hall re-opened to customers in October last year following a year-long £4 million refurbishment which saw it transformed into a modern shopping area.
The cost of the redevelopment also included refurbishing the historic exterior and the Assembly Rooms, while creating a suite of offices for businesses on the upper floors.
Since re-opening market traders have reported doing good business and the offices will shortly be fully occupied. The council is also actively marketing promotional and retail space at the heart of the retail area near the cafe.
Now the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) has voted the market hall as the UK’s top small indoor market.
Councillor Amanda Serjeant, Chesterfield Borough Council’s executive member for leisure, culture and tourism, said: “This is great news for the town as the market hall is one of the iconic buildings in Chesterfield and a key part of our history.
“To secure its long-term future we needed to move with the times. The redevelopment enabled us to deliver the modern, light facilities today’s shoppers want and expect.
“At the same time we were able to keep and restore the historic core of the building, including the beautiful Assembly Rooms on the first floor which not all users may have seen yet.
“By adding offices for start-up and small businesses on the upper floors we have also increased the income being generated by the building while playing a part in creating new jobs and developing the local economy.”
The cost of the project was paid for by £2.1 million of grants from the European Regional Development Fund and the National Lottery, with the remainder coming from Chesterfield Borough Council.
Paul Hind, president of the Chesterfield branch of the National Market Traders’ Federation, said: “The traders have found the new market hall good. It is lighter and the public use it more often.
“The council has taken an old Victorian building and made it fit for purpose as a modern shopping area.”
The redevelopment project was overseen by the council’s asset management partner Kier under the Public Private Partnership with arvato.
Matt Sorby, head of Kier in Chesterfield, said: “Since opening the market hall has proved really successful with occupancy rates above predicted levels and traders reporting good business.
“Having a successful market hall is an important part of attracting both residents and visitors into Chesterfield to shop.”
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, said: “The town has had an amazing start to the New Year with two awards under our belt recognising the hard work of so many people working together to make Chesterfield a come-to destination. The latest accolade for the market hall further cements our position as a contemporary and thriving town centre, earning us national recognition.“
The Assembly Rooms in the market hall are available for hire by the public, community groups or businesses. Further details can be seen at http://www.chesterfield.gov.uk/Chesterfield-Venue-Hire-1014.html