Plans to transform Doncaster Market

Doncaster market in the town centre
Doncaster market in the town centre

Glass frontage, a public square, and ‘designed out’ crime - these could form the new face of Doncaster market next year.

Details of how the first phase of a multimillion pound revamp may turn out were outlined to Doncaster businessmen at an event to sign up businesses for a scheme to boost Doncaster’s public profile across the world.

Expert Malcolm Veigas, whose company Quarterbridge is working on the plans for the market, also revealed proposals to open the market up at night to boost its profile with evening events.

The first phase of work on re-developing the market is due to take place with the redevelopment of the Wool Market. No time scale has yet been confirmed.

Mr Veigas said the details of the plans had not yet been rubber stamped by the council.

But the proposals included a major transformation of the wool market by stripping it and redesigning it inside, and adding a new glass frontage, which would be sympathetic to the existing building.

The glass frontage would open on onto a public square, which would enable public events to be held there.

Mr Veigas believes entertainment in the square - plus in the existing square in front of the corn exchange, which would be retained - would help boost trade and could be run in the evenings as well as the day time.

The proposals follow consultation with traders, who also raised concerns about anti-social behaviour in the markets area at present.

The design for the newly re-vamped wool market would take that into account - and Mr Veigas said the plans would look to ‘design-out’ crime using secure-by-design principles.

He said: “We are looking at more lighting, closed circuit television cameras, and practical measures like drainpipes which are inside so that no one can climb up them.

“The markets team will be the eyes and ears of the area too. They are going to be more visible and high profile in terms of cleaning regimes and police community support officers.

“The area will be more populated - and that means that people looking for somewhere quiet and causing nuisance will have to look for somewhere else.”

Of the 47 traders who currently operate at the Wool Market, 43 have confirmed they definitely want to remain in Doncaster after the revamp.

A plan is in place to sort out temporary arrangements for those who want to remain while the work to transform the area is carried out.

It is expected to be finalised by the end of the year, and could see traders located in different sections of the market. They may be given some money towards customising the temporary sites to their needs.

Mr Veigas said it was regarded as vital that the businesses were kept involved in the plans so that they could make informed decisions.

It is expected that food would be the main element of trade, with people having bought food then moving on to buy other items.

He said people came to buy food two or three times a week with secondary spending on other items such as clothing while they were in the area.

The design and layout of the redesigned market is likely to be changed, with different types of products potentially sold in the same sections.

He said: “For the front of the wool market, one idea is that it may be glazed. It may mean that in the evening the whole of the space can be used for entertainment - perhaps music or a light show.

“In four or five years time Doncaster Market will be very different.”

He said an example of the sort of thing Doncaster may see was Brixton Village and Market Row in London.

“At 6.30pm, Brixton market morphs into something different,” he said. “I know of a trader who sells wet fish during the day. At 6.30pm the fish goes away, the oysters come out, and he e sells oysters and prosecco. There are many who do something similar. Five years from now there may be something similar in Doncaster.”

There has already been entertainment running in Doncaster Market, with daytime events recently held at the Deliciously Doncaster Food Festival last month.

Funding is already in place for the planned regeneration of the market, with money provided by the Sheffield City Region Investment Fund.

The market is due to be redeveloped as part of a wider town centre development plan.

Council officials had previously said they wanted to increase footfall in the market area, potentially through the layout of routes through the town centre.

Doncaster Chamber of Commence vice president Michael Wilkinson said regeneration of the market would lead to a better experience of Doncaster.

He said he got his first job at the market aged 13 and believed it was one of the real gems of Doncaster.

The top boss at Doncaster’s Cast theatre are already planning street entertainment for the borough.

Director Deborah Rees said the theatre had already tried running street entertainment earlier this year, with a free outdoor spectacular called Clash of Drums, part of a national programme of Arts Council funded events.

She said there would be another similar event on September 22, a free outdoor performance called The Colour of Light.

It will feature gigantic wheels of coloured light, some the size of a double decker bus.

They will finish up at Cast.

Local choirs will provide music at the event.