The long-anticipated overhaul of Arnold Market has been approved by councillors, paving the way for the £4 million project to move to the next phase.
In a special meeting today, councillors of all parties unanimously approved spending an additional £1.5 million on the scheme, which will add to funding committed in previous years, and £1.25 million from D2N2.
It is anticipated the scheme will be completed in around 18 months time.
As well as significant upgrades to the marketplace itself, the centrepiece will be a new ‘landmark’ market building, between the Methodist Church and King George V park.
The building will have seven small outlets on the ground floor facing the marketplace, targeted at 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, along side a range of other environmental measures.
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.
In a special meeting of Gedling Borough Council today (Wednesday, September 2) councillors welcomed the initial designs and the concept.
The spending was approved in principle by the cabinet last month, but was officially confirmed by the full council this afternoon.
Jenny Hollingworth is the Labour councillor for the Gedling ward, and the portfolio holder for growth and regeneration.
She told the meeting today: “Arnold Market opened just over half a century ago, and what was once a vibrant and attractive asset for the town has sadly over a number of years deteriorated, both in its physical environment, and in the variety of goods and services that it now offers.
“Following overwhelming support from the community to intervene and improve the market the council acquired the site in 2018.
“The new building has been orientated to frame the new market place, as well as create a gateway into the town.
“A new public square will create a central focal point for the market and provide a flexible space for events and performances.”
Councillor Michael Payne is the deputy leader of the council, and represents the Redhill ward for Labour.
He said: “This is a really good example of local government stepping in to try to assist the local economy.
“None of us know where the economy is going to go in the next six months, and clearly everybody is trying to do their level best to make sure the economy doesn’t tank in the next six months.
“We have a role to play in that, private business has a role, and central Government also has a role.
“Of course everybody hopes and expects the building and the market is full and flourishing but nobody knows what shock the economy is going to face after we’ve just gone through one of the worst pandemics we’ve ever faced.
“I think we all look forward to the building being open , the market being open and people being able to enjoy the space once when we can return to normality.”
Detailed plans for the project are now expected to be submitted to the council’s planning committee in the coming months.