Posted: 12.09.21 at 12:41 by Graham Hill
Coalville shoppers have been told that the new indoor Newmarket in Marlborough Square as the former market site was in danger of 'withering and dying'.
North West Leicestershire District Council's much-delayed Newmarket project was opened to the public this week on the site of the former Litten Tree bar.
It has been delayed by the Covid pandemic and the fact that they lost the original contractor who pulled out as a result.
An opening day ribbon cutting ceremony was held with the chairman of North West Leicestershire District Council Virge Richichi.
If you have not seen it yet, our video above gives you a guided tour.
Councillor Andrew Woodman, Portfolio Holder for Community Services art North West Leicestershire District Council, told Coalville Nub News what Newmarket means to the town and answered some of the criticisms levelled at it by local people.
He said: "It's been a long road for various reasons, but I think it's been worth it in the end to get it right.
"Covid caused a chain reaction with the contractor.
"It's better to wait than do it too quickly and get it wrong.
"This is a welcoming building, with the old markets they could be slightly daunting.
"With the food outlets, this is a multi-faceted offering.
"There are places to sit down and offers a great experience for shoppers.
"You look any town centre and the outdoor-style markets are very much in the past.
"We've done our research and we now what the modern shopper is looking for - the small, independent, bespoke retailers, in some cases, it's innovative stuff which may hopefully lead to bigger things for them.
"Every space is filled now, we officially opened on Friday."
Bur Mr Woodman has heard opposition to the new building in terms of moving it to a smaller area where there is less car parking for customers compared to the former market site.
He added: "I'm sympathetic to people when it comes to the old market.
"But the trade wasn't really there.
"We had to do something otherwise it would've just withered and died.
"It was going to cost a lot to maintain it in years to come.
"People go online, they go to big stores, but they do want to shop local.
"This offers people the chance to start a stall and see where it goes.
"I'm not sure you could've said that about the old market.
"Traders who are maybe not sure can come along and put their toe in the water and see for themselves.
"If it doesn't work out, they've not lost too much, if it does, then they may go on to bigger and better things.
"We think the rentals reflect what's going on in the market and are fair."
Mr Woodman says the food aspect of Newmarket is something that can attract customers.
He added: "People will come here to eat and they can have half an hour to stroll around and maybe make some purchases.
"In the old market, I'm not sure you would've got that. It had the regulars, but not people who've just moved to the area, and we hope this will attract new people as well as old."
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