Business case drawn up to turn crumbling Burslem Market into food hall

Burslem Indoor Market
Burslem Indoor Market -Credit:Historic England

New plans are being drawn up to bring a dilapidated market hall back into use. Stoke-on-Trent City Council has commissioned the business case on future uses of Burslem Indoor Market, after a study last year proposed a £5.38 million project to turn the Grade II-listed building into a food court and entertainment venue.

Consultants at Arcadis have been asked to 'explore and test potential options' for the council-owned market, looking at the initial capital spend needed to refurbish the building, as well as its ongoing running costs. An outline business case should be ready by next month, while a full business case is expected in August.

The council has also asked Arcadis to prepare a specification for emergency repairs at Burslem Indoor Market, which are expected to cost around £310,000. A tender for the works is set to be issued next month, subject to funding being secured.

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Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning at the city council, said: "We are committed to bringing Burslem Market back into use for the benefit of our local communities. This is an historic listed building and one which local residents are extremely passionate about. We understand how important it is to ensure it is protected and preserved for generations to come and we intend to make sure the community is fully consulted about its future.

"A specification for safeguarding works is currently being prepared and, subject to funding, it is hoped that the tender documents for this work will be issued in May along with an outline business case to find a potential new use for the site. A full business case is expected by August 2024."

Design concepts for Burslem indoor market produced by Stride Treglown for Stoke-on-Trent City Council last year. -Credit:Stride Treglown
Design concepts for Burslem indoor market produced by Stride Treglown for Stoke-on-Trent City Council last year. -Credit:Stride Treglown

The business case will build on a feasibility study produced by Arcadis last June, which suggested reviving the indoor market as a 'destination event space'. Under this plan, there would be a central seating area surrounded by food, drink and craft stalls, with a stage for live acts at one end.

Arcadis's report said similar schemes to revitalise market halls had worked elsewhere, although it acknowledged that these had generally been in more affluent towns, like Altrincham. Arcadis suggested investigating the 'barriers' which could stand in the way of the project succeeding in Burslem.

Claybody Theatre, Our Burslem and Re-Form Heritage, which runs Middleport Pottery, have all come forward with ideas for the market in recent years, and a council report says that commissioning a business case will 'ensure that this momentum is maintained'.

A condition survey carried out as part of the feasibility study highlighted the need to carry out safeguarding works to prevent the market building deteriorating further. The repairs will also make it safer for people to enter the building and carry out further surveys.

Burslem Indoor Market, which was built in 1879, closed 21 years ago following a ceiling collapse.

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