A long-awaited upgrade to Arnold Market has been given the green light.
The borough council bought the site back in July 2018, arguing it was under-used and in need of significant investment.
Today, councillors have given approval to the new scheme, which includes a two-storey ‘landmark’ building, between the Methodist Church and King George V park.
The building will have seven small outlets, designed to be attractive to small, independent businesses, and will provide a ‘central focal point for the market’.
Solar panels are planned to be installed on the roof of the building.
The first floor of the building will be set aside for flexible business space, which could be used either as a single office or subdivided offices.
An office and toilets for traders would also be included on the ground floor of the new building.
It is not expected that public toilets will be provided, however the council says upgrades to public toilets are already planned elsewhere in the town centre, and that businesses felt public toilets in the new building could detract from the commercial appeal.
A new public square will also be built in front of the new building as part of the plans, retaining the town’s 24 market stalls.
Even the threat of terrorism has been considered in the highly-detailed business case approved today.
It says: “Counter-terrorism measures have been reviewed with the council’s health and safety officer.
“Typical street elements such as bollards, seats and planters have been creatively arranged to form a physical barrier between the new market place and the highway to protect the public and feature lighting will be integrated into the landscape design.”
A Gedling Borough Council report on the upgrade says: “One of the primary aims of purchasing the site was to revitalise the market area with new market stalls and reignite both seller and consumer interest in utilising this area as a vibrant marketplace.
“To this end, the development of the new building and improvements to the public realm will increase interest in the market stalls.
“It is envisaged that this will generate enough interest to fully occupy the 24 market stalls provided within the development site.”
Labour councillor John Clarke is the leader of the council. He said: “I think this fits entirely where we want to go, in terms of a restructure, building and making something for people to be proud of across the borough, and hopefully it will be an attraction for people to come along, not only to the market but also to do other things.
“It’s an excellent project. We need to back it, people out there need to back it, and we need to work with small businesses because the country is built on small businesses.”
Jenny Holingsworth is the Labour councillor for the Gedling ward, and the portfolio holder for growth and regeneration.
She said: “The consultation was overwhelmingly positive for regeneration, I think the pictures today show what an exciting project it is, and shows the confidence we’ve got in our town centres to encourage people to come to us.
“I’m absolutely delighted to see the solar panels on the top and the air source heat pumps that will go inside to provide heating and cooling.”
The approval by the council’s cabinet today (Thursday, August 6), means the council will now apply to itself for planning permission for the new building.
It is hoped construction work on the site could start in January next year, before the facility is opened to the public by Christmas next year.