£4.6m market 'on track' as new building takes shape
- Credit: Liz Coates
Great Yarmouth's new market is said to be the shape of things to come - and passers-by are getting a clearer idea of what that will be.
Building work is rising above the hoardings with the impressive glulam (glued, laminated timber) frame bringing it closer to what was promised in early artist's impressions.
The market revamp is one of the cornerstones of urban generation going on in the coastal town, which by all accounts is "having a moment", with a number of large regeneration projects including the third river crossing and new Marina Centre, and Winter Gardens windfall all coming to fruition.
A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council confirmed the first phase of work on the Market Place redevelopment was on track to be completed by early October this year, with a final opening expected by April/May 2022.
She also said the purchase of the former Palmers building was confirmed at the Policy and Resources committee on July 13.
The timeline for development has not yet been agreed.
The former Palmers/Beales store would see a relocated library sharing space with students on undergraduate courses affiliated with the University of Suffolk, and potentially the University of East Anglia, as well as East Coast College and East Norfolk Sixth Form College as partners.
Old pictures show the market boasting a tightly-packed density of stalls that is not even dimly remembered today.
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Generations of changes to shopping habits with the advent of supermarkets, the dominance of the car, and the growth of online options and out-of-town retail parks, has cut its convenience and over the years it has got smaller and smaller.
However under the redevelopment it is hoped it will rise again, and become a destination in itself.
Work on the £4.6 million redevelopment began in April with the wooden frame, or glulam structure, delivered on time in July.
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"This will see the most significant move forward, enabling individual trader units to be constructed within the frame," a council spokesperson said.
It has been billed as "an exciting journey of regeneration" but not all stall-holders agree saying the cost of refitting a new stall is beyond their pocket.
During the work the two day market has relocated to the south of the site.
History of the market
A market is presumed to have existed at Great Yarmouth before the granting of King John's charter of 18 March 1208.
In 1609 a writer described it as "a very fair market"
According to an account published by the Norfolk Record Office based on a description dating from 1776 animals were being slaughtered in the market which was also used as a place for punishment with stocks and pillories.
There was a Market Cross in the centre of the Market Place, from very early times.
The last cross was pulled down in 1836 - a plaque in the covered section of the market indicates its site.
The roads around the market were pedestrianised in 1988.
An opening ceremony for the covered market, which has now reached the end of its life, was held in 1995.
The new covered market has space for 29 units and four kiosks. It is described as "architecturally striking" with a practical design that will help to deter gulls.