Historic market place to become ‘destination’ under revamp plan
PUBLISHED: 11:38 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:38 20 June 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
A revamped Great Yarmouth Market could have the power to lift the whole area cutting vacancy rates by more than 20pc and creating a year-round attraction.
Turning it into “a destination” with landscaping, seating, meeting areas and new paving would chime with modern retail trends and give the much-loved space the attention it deserved, it is claimed.
Dozens of people have had their say about the future of the area during a week-long drop-in session being staged in one of the units all week ending on Saturday at around 5pm.
Hannah Wooller, head of conservation and heritage at Hudson Architects who are carrying out the consultation for the borough council, said Yarmouth’s was the largest continuous market in the country which was ripe for transformation.
With no firm plan as yet resident’s opinions will help to shape what happened on the large site, she said, adding there was a huge amount of affection for the market which looked “tired” it places.
So far people had signalled they were dead against a borough council suggestion to move it further towards the Minster under the town centre masterplan.
At the drop-in examples of other markets from across the country which have been elevated from being down-at-heel hubs to superb family destinations are on show.
Mrs Wooller said that while more people were shopping online they still had “time to kill” and were looking for “experiences.”
Food and child-friendly activities could be part of the vision with general improvements making it a nicer place to spend time and attract people from the seafront.
She added that Airbnb was bringing a new breed of short-stay tourist who already visited nearby museums and would be drawn to the town centre by a well-designed historic market flanked by 16th century buildings.
One of the aims under the scheme is to create a two hour “dwell time”.
In other towns where the market had been remodelled vacancy rates had dropped by 22pc.
Yarmouth market was given its charter in 1208 and is one of the largest open air markets in the country.
If all goes to plan it is hoped a new market will be greeting its first visitors in 2021.
A decision on a Coastal Communities grant application is due next month.