Councillors call for "radical and brave re-examination" of Darlington's markets

INVESTMENT NEEDED: Darlington's historic Covered Market

INVESTMENT NEEDED: Darlington's historic Covered Market

First published in News
Last updated
Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Darlington reporter

A SPECIAL task group set up to investigate the future of Darlington’s markets has concluded that capital investment is vital to prevent further decline of the indoor market and its heritage.

The town’s historic Covered Market must be “radically and bravely re-examined” and made a priority for funding to ensure it stays relevant in the changing economy, the group has agreed.

Councillors and officers from Darlington Borough Council met with representatives from both the indoor and outdoor markets to discuss the current situation and plans for the coming years at a series of meetings held over a year.

In a final report presented to the council’s place scrutiny committee, which led the investigations, members agreed a number of key findings – particularly that the Market Hall and the adjoining clock tower and the Old Town Hall were too important to Darlington to allow them to deteriorate.

The task group has recommended that the council should publicly state its commitment to the ‘retention and maintenance’ of the buildings and that a capital bid for the refurbishment of the market should be prioritised.

Investigations into the building work required at the meeting suggest that repairs to the roof, together with electrical and mechanical works, could cost up to £2m.

Further investment would be required to improve the overall appearance of the stalls within the market by making the layout simpler and more open.

Discussing the need for a radical rethink on the future of the market, the task group noted: “It was felt that the market’s continued use as a food hall was a key anchor to any future use.

“The continued use as a trading area is fundamental; however, it is essential that the use of the building is diversified, possibly to include its use into the night-time economy to get best value out of the use of the building.

“There is a need to look at its opening hours so its use could be multi-functional and collaborative.”

A number of short-term actions that could be easily achieved without too much investment were put forward by the group, including the increased use of social media to promote the markets, improved signage and small changes to the outside of the building to increase its appearance from High Row.

However, the group warned against ‘piecemeal’ changes and said any significant investment in the building must be done with a long-term outlook.

The report outlining the issues facing the market and the full list of recommendations will be sent to senior councillors in the cabinet for a decision on the direction to take in the coming weeks.

Comments (17)

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5:18pm Thu 4 Sep 14

madsmadsissy says...

Put the outdoor market back into the market square!!
Put the outdoor market back into the market square!! madsmadsissy
  • Score: 20

5:53pm Thu 4 Sep 14

laughingboy51 says...

Re-open the toilets.
Re-open the toilets. laughingboy51
  • Score: 14

6:23pm Thu 4 Sep 14

philip19 says...

put the market back into the market square and reduce the rents of the stallholders to encourage traders to come to Darlington the market used to be great but like other things it is getting destroyed
put the market back into the market square and reduce the rents of the stallholders to encourage traders to come to Darlington the market used to be great but like other things it is getting destroyed philip19
  • Score: 16

6:36pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Spy Boy says...

When the council start doing these things, I get suspicious. This bit about night time economy sounds even more shifty. Tesco 24?

I would still like to see the Market come back to the square and some major improvements to bring people back into the covered market. The latter should still be only for small business, not large organisations.

I see the cabinet are handling it, so they'll probably be putting their own agendas first.
When the council start doing these things, I get suspicious. This bit about night time economy sounds even more shifty. Tesco 24? I would still like to see the Market come back to the square and some major improvements to bring people back into the covered market. The latter should still be only for small business, not large organisations. I see the cabinet are handling it, so they'll probably be putting their own agendas first. Spy Boy
  • Score: 11

6:47pm Thu 4 Sep 14

oliviaden6 says...

Wait a minute here! Were we not told this was an award winning market etc. Now we have all this hoo haa there is something in the wind and it sounds fishy? Bill must be needing another photo call to show his good side again, Oh yes there is an election in the offing?
Wait a minute here! Were we not told this was an award winning market etc. Now we have all this hoo haa there is something in the wind and it sounds fishy? Bill must be needing another photo call to show his good side again, Oh yes there is an election in the offing? oliviaden6
  • Score: 10

7:15pm Thu 4 Sep 14

youngcrony says...

What's that sound? Why it's the sound of Uncle Bill and his overpaid cronies back pedalling!

Here's a question Bill, just so we can all see why your salary is six figures: What is a Market Place for? Let me give you a hint; the clue is in the name.

Market Places are not for your gypo pals to fleece by charging the public to go on their rides. Go and give them some poor farmer's field or shove them in Mowden.
What's that sound? Why it's the sound of Uncle Bill and his overpaid cronies back pedalling! Here's a question Bill, just so we can all see why your salary is six figures: What is a Market Place for? Let me give you a hint; the clue is in the name. Market Places are not for your gypo pals to fleece by charging the public to go on their rides. Go and give them some poor farmer's field or shove them in Mowden. youngcrony
  • Score: 8

7:21pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Awake-in-Darlo says...

Spy Boy wrote:
When the council start doing these things, I get suspicious. This bit about night time economy sounds even more shifty. Tesco 24?

I would still like to see the Market come back to the square and some major improvements to bring people back into the covered market. The latter should still be only for small business, not large organisations.

I see the cabinet are handling it, so they'll probably be putting their own agendas first.
"Night-time economy" and "food hall use" suggestive of booze and burgers
What about Tourist Info, Bus Office, Toilets, the diversity of small traders being supported, and return of market to MARKET place..Hello ? Anyone
in the corridors of power take note of the real wishes of the voting public please.
[quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: When the council start doing these things, I get suspicious. This bit about night time economy sounds even more shifty. Tesco 24? I would still like to see the Market come back to the square and some major improvements to bring people back into the covered market. The latter should still be only for small business, not large organisations. I see the cabinet are handling it, so they'll probably be putting their own agendas first.[/p][/quote]"Night-time economy" and "food hall use" suggestive of booze and burgers What about Tourist Info, Bus Office, Toilets, the diversity of small traders being supported, and return of market to MARKET place..Hello ? Anyone in the corridors of power take note of the real wishes of the voting public please. Awake-in-Darlo
  • Score: 9

7:23pm Thu 4 Sep 14

miketually says...

madsmadsissy wrote:
Put the outdoor market back into the market square!!
Apparently, none of the stall holders want to be in the Market Square. They get more trade where they are now.
[quote][p][bold]madsmadsissy[/bold] wrote: Put the outdoor market back into the market square!![/p][/quote]Apparently, none of the stall holders want to be in the Market Square. They get more trade where they are now. miketually
  • Score: 0

8:08pm Thu 4 Sep 14

chansm79 says...

I agree with a lot of the comments already posted here - the market belongs in the market place, not strung out all over the town in the different parts of the pedestrianised areas. I often find stalls in different places each time I am in town, and would have missed them if I wasn't passing in that direction.

Also, if they were to return the market back to its rightful place, it will draw trade to that end of town, and towards the new Feethams development, where (incidentally) there are already plans for more night time activities such as restaurants and the cinema.

Personally, I cant see the council investing that much into the Indoor market if they say they can't even justify the expense of the toilets.
I agree with a lot of the comments already posted here - the market belongs in the market place, not strung out all over the town in the different parts of the pedestrianised areas. I often find stalls in different places each time I am in town, and would have missed them if I wasn't passing in that direction. Also, if they were to return the market back to its rightful place, it will draw trade to that end of town, and towards the new Feethams development, where (incidentally) there are already plans for more night time activities such as restaurants and the cinema. Personally, I cant see the council investing that much into the Indoor market if they say they can't even justify the expense of the toilets. chansm79
  • Score: 8

8:16pm Thu 4 Sep 14

gramps427 says...

There is nothing new here as this all came to the fore 10 years ago. The traders inside the Market did not want to make the changes that would be more likely to get the funding required to update the building & few if any wanted to accept credit card payments which might have helped bring in younger shoppers, many of whom use technology over ready cash. As for the comments on the outdoor market, well this article concentrates on the indoor market and preserving the building and if the mass of missing traders actually thought they could make money in town they would be here regardless of where in town its held.
There is nothing new here as this all came to the fore 10 years ago. The traders inside the Market did not want to make the changes that would be more likely to get the funding required to update the building & few if any wanted to accept credit card payments which might have helped bring in younger shoppers, many of whom use technology over ready cash. As for the comments on the outdoor market, well this article concentrates on the indoor market and preserving the building and if the mass of missing traders actually thought they could make money in town they would be here regardless of where in town its held. gramps427
  • Score: 1

9:33pm Thu 4 Sep 14

MAGPIES12 says...

most of the indoor traders never worked the open market
those that did
the sweet stall
and maybe another 2
frenzies clothes stall
it used to be hard patient work to get an indoor stall .due to long waiting list ...at one time more than 200 stalls used to be on that market square
i know i worked for the council IN THE MARKET for 13 years years or so
now retired ...3 years
i was talking to a couple who came to visit the market 2 weeks ago
they were shocked and disappointed they said to travel 30 miles to find it didn't exist any more ...
a regular story since the market died..
the problems are
parking and charges
buses and bus stops and routes
market roof leaks in BADLY at times
freezing cold in winter
too hot in summer
from the outside looking across from high row
it looks dull dingy empty closed
its a listed building so upgrading is limited
it has a large basement area used for storage and prep rooms
it has a high roof space deep enough for second floor
BUT!!! to revamp in any meaningful way would cost a lot of money
giving re birth to the outside /open market would be easier to manage
but DBC WOULD NEED TO move away from forcing folks to use council stalls ..and stallholders mus be able to use there own sign-age and livery
and there you have it all you need is a boat load of cash or a rich benefactor..and some real good planning and design merchants
wayne
most of the indoor traders never worked the open market those that did the sweet stall and maybe another 2 frenzies clothes stall it used to be hard patient work to get an indoor stall .due to long waiting list ...at one time more than 200 stalls used to be on that market square i know i worked for the council IN THE MARKET for 13 years years or so now retired ...3 years i was talking to a couple who came to visit the market 2 weeks ago they were shocked and disappointed they said to travel 30 miles to find it didn't exist any more ... a regular story since the market died.. the problems are parking and charges buses and bus stops and routes market roof leaks in BADLY at times freezing cold in winter too hot in summer [its a big greenhouse] from the outside looking across from high row it looks dull dingy empty closed its a listed building so upgrading is limited it has a large basement area used for storage and prep rooms it has a high roof space deep enough for second floor BUT!!! to revamp in any meaningful way would cost a lot of money giving re birth to the outside /open market would be easier to manage but DBC WOULD NEED TO move away from forcing folks to use council stalls ..and stallholders mus be able to use there own sign-age and livery and there you have it all you need is a boat load of cash or a rich benefactor..and some real good planning and design merchants wayne MAGPIES12
  • Score: 10

10:32pm Thu 4 Sep 14

fedup binman says...

the markets are dead you can get the same stuff cheaper at the pound shops cheaper at the supermarkets as for Tesco try faverdale the old bowater site
the markets are dead you can get the same stuff cheaper at the pound shops cheaper at the supermarkets as for Tesco try faverdale the old bowater site fedup binman
  • Score: 2

10:54pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Homshaw1 says...

I knew someone who put his food stall on the market. He was promised an electricity supply. When he asked where it was he was told it was 12ft up a lamppost and where he could find some ladders as the person responsible was having a bacon sandwich. Only trouble was he was over 60 and overweight. He eventually got sorted and put some expensive samples on the stall. A woman walked by with a crying hungry child. She took the plate and the child set about eating the lot. When he protested the mother said "F*** Off They're free aren't they. He does markets throughout the North East but once was enough in Darlington
I knew someone who put his food stall on the market. He was promised an electricity supply. When he asked where it was he was told it was 12ft up a lamppost and where he could find some ladders as the person responsible was having a bacon sandwich. Only trouble was he was over 60 and overweight. He eventually got sorted and put some expensive samples on the stall. A woman walked by with a crying hungry child. She took the plate and the child set about eating the lot. When he protested the mother said "F*** Off They're free aren't they. He does markets throughout the North East but once was enough in Darlington Homshaw1
  • Score: 2

11:05pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Homshaw1 says...

I once asked about a stall in the indoor market. The guy I spoke to was less than helpful and even at one point said I was only interested in the indoor market because it was cheap. Even though no one was selling what I wanted to sell he said he would have to get the OK from other stallholders. The guy was so negative and unhelpful I decided not to bother. New more dynamic staff might be a good start.
I once asked about a stall in the indoor market. The guy I spoke to was less than helpful and even at one point said I was only interested in the indoor market because it was cheap. Even though no one was selling what I wanted to sell he said he would have to get the OK from other stallholders. The guy was so negative and unhelpful I decided not to bother. New more dynamic staff might be a good start. Homshaw1
  • Score: 7

11:17pm Thu 4 Sep 14

Homshaw1 says...

miketually wrote:
madsmadsissy wrote:
Put the outdoor market back into the market square!!
Apparently, none of the stall holders want to be in the Market Square. They get more trade where they are now.
Do you speak to stallholders on a regular basis or are you passing on the views of someone connected with the council?
[quote][p][bold]miketually[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]madsmadsissy[/bold] wrote: Put the outdoor market back into the market square!![/p][/quote]Apparently, none of the stall holders want to be in the Market Square. They get more trade where they are now.[/p][/quote]Do you speak to stallholders on a regular basis or are you passing on the views of someone connected with the council? Homshaw1
  • Score: 3

6:56am Fri 5 Sep 14

miketually says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
miketually wrote:
madsmadsissy wrote:
Put the outdoor market back into the market square!!
Apparently, none of the stall holders want to be in the Market Square. They get more trade where they are now.
Do you speak to stallholders on a regular basis or are you passing on the views of someone connected with the council?
I'm repeating what has been stated as the stallholder view in Echo articles many times. Notice the first word in what I said.

Id be happy for it to move back: it clogs up my route to work through the town centre every Monday.
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]miketually[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]madsmadsissy[/bold] wrote: Put the outdoor market back into the market square!![/p][/quote]Apparently, none of the stall holders want to be in the Market Square. They get more trade where they are now.[/p][/quote]Do you speak to stallholders on a regular basis or are you passing on the views of someone connected with the council?[/p][/quote]I'm repeating what has been stated as the stallholder view in Echo articles many times. Notice the first word in what I said. Id be happy for it to move back: it clogs up my route to work through the town centre every Monday. miketually
  • Score: 3

10:41am Fri 5 Sep 14

Homshaw1 says...

So if the outdoor market is getting more trade than they used to and the market used to thrive there is no problem and all the shareholders should be happy and content.

As for the indoor market think we are confusing two issues - 1) the preservation of a historic building and 2) the way the market and the town centre is run and the quality and type of the traders in it
So if the outdoor market is getting more trade than they used to and the market used to thrive there is no problem and all the shareholders should be happy and content. As for the indoor market think we are confusing two issues - 1) the preservation of a historic building and 2) the way the market and the town centre is run and the quality and type of the traders in it Homshaw1
  • Score: 4

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