Worries over market move

Wigan Indoor Market
Wigan Indoor Market

CONCERNED Wigan market traders sought assurances from the council their voices would be heard on the new Galleries revamp plans.

The £60m proposal submitted by private developers Vale Retail received approval yesterday.

But traders said the new facility they will be moved into near to Market Place is not suitable with current blueprints showing inadequate storage and preparation areas.

Council planning bosses said an independent inspector used by the traders had now been taken on by the local authority to ensure the new facility is suitable.

Kathleen Leigh, representing the traders, told the planning committee: “The proposed location has already failed with major national retailers and has been empty for practically 10 years.

“As small independent traders we are very concerned for our livelihoods.”

Concerns over access areas for deliveries and the size of stalls in the new building were also raised. Ms Leigh called on the council to agree “to future negotiations with traders and designers.”

Coun Norman Bradbury voted against approval while Coun James Grundy, who had earlier asked for the vote to be deferred, abstained.

The remaining 11 committee members voted in favour.

Coun Stephen Hellier said; “This is about regeneration and I think (the proposal) is an absolute cracker.”

Both director of economy Steve Normington and committee chair Coun Paul Prescott attempted to reassure traders, several of whom were sat in the public gallery, the council would continue to consult with them.

The internal layout of the new market building was still to be set and would be open to discussion, they added.

The hearing had been told the current occupancy rates at The Galleries was at 57 per cent and the new development would make the units more suitable for major retailers.

Deputy leader Coun David Molyneux said: “This plan will provide a big boost to the local economy. That a private developer wants to invest such a large sum of money is a tremendous vote of confidence.”