Pontypool market revamp aims to breathe new life into town
THE MAN in charge of overseeing the refurbishment of Pontypool Market hopes it will make Pontypool a strong shopping centre.
Torfaen council’s group leader for strategic regeneration David Evans, who is over seeing the regeneration project, hopes that traders and residents start to get excited about the proposals, and for aspiring traders to see it as an ideal place for them to start a business.
Mr Evans explained that during the refurbishment, which is due to start inMay and complete by June 2014, will see the inside of the market transformed, with the introduction of more food outlets and a large seating area.
He said: “The projects that we are doing are a direct result of what people said they want.”
“The building’s main purpose is to trade, but we want it to become a more social space for people to sit within a comfortable environment.”
The aim is for the market to complement nearby retail centres, and offer an alternative place to shop for local produce.
The layout of the market will also be changing to help people move through it.
The market is currently operating at 62 per cent capacity, but it is hoped that this will increase, and plans will be put in place to draw in new traders.
He said: “It’s a beautiful building and we are trying to bring it to life.”
Concerns were raised by traders last week, after Torfaen cabinet decided to increase rents for permanent stallholders for the first time in 12 years.
The way in which rents are calculated will change from the current £40 to £144 per week to £200 per square metre a year.
However, Mr Evans says Torfaen council is doing all it can to support traders.
He said: “There will be significant discounts while works are ongoing.
“The rents will need reviewing upon completion of the project as we cannot finalise rents until we test the market, but £200 per square metre a year is what we predict as viable.”
Welcoming the plans is trader Susan Watkins, from the stall The Sun Flower. She said: “I’m excited about the project. I understand things maybe a bit all over the place while works are being carried out, but I think it will be worth it in the end as the building does need smartening up.”
Terry Baker, from Terry’s Book, added: “It’s a good market, it just needs a facelift.
“I’m still here after 30 years, so there’s still enough trade to make a living.”