Derby’s historic covered market finally reopened to customers on Tuesday 7 July, more than three months after being forced to close due to the coronavirus blockade.
But there is expected to be a one-way system and security measures on the stalls to ensure that the building is safe for merchants and customers.
Ever since the government announced the easing of the blockade, Derby City Council says it has worked to safely reopen the historic building – currently undergoing a multi-million pound transformation – but navigating has not been easy, according to ‘authorities.
Many non-essential retailers have been able to reopen their doors since Monday June 15, which is impossible with the covered market.
Here at Derbyshire Live, we launched our newsletter, which will bring the latest information on the virtual event, food and drink updates and retail news to your inbox.
With our What’s On newsletter, you will receive a weekly email every Thursday evening, completing the latest news on entertainment, leisure and shopping in our county.
To sign up, all you have to do is enter your email address in the “Subscribe to FREE alerts” box at the top of this article.
The covered market is currently undergoing a major transformation of £ 11 million, with major roof repairs and additional costs due to the creation of a space that offers an attractive and flexible commercial and recreational destination.
The large scaffolding around the building made it more difficult to work out social exclusion in the 19th century building.
Rachel North, strategic director of communal council communities and locations, said: “The government has made it clear that retailers can only reopen if they are” Covid-secure “, and for some places this is practically difficult, as space and resources to manage it. “
“Facilitating the reopening of the covered market has been very challenging for a number of reasons.
“The transformation has enormous significance for the city, but the work in the building meant less physical space for us due to scaffolding and access to the works, naturally making social distance and safe reopening more difficult.
“We have worked very hard on the solutions, so we can reopen as quickly as possible for traders: I can understand why people think it should be just a case of opening doors and making purchases in one way, but there is practically much more to consider and although difficult for traders, security must simply remain our top priority. “
Council officials explored a number of options for reopening the market, including resources to manage the number of customers and the flow of visitors to the market, also looking for alternative solutions such as moving to Market Place, which was deemed impossible.
The cornerstone of the listed Grade II covered market was laid in February 1864 and the building was officially opened to the public in 1866 by the then Mayor of Derby Thomas Roe.
The building cost £ 29,000 and was a design by Melbourne engineer Rowland Mason Ordish, whose other works include London landmarks such as Albert Bridge and the dome of the Royal Albert Hall.
His detailed work on the single-span roof at St Pancras Station with William Barlow bears striking resemblance to the roof of the Derby Market Hall.
The covered market underwent a multi-million pound transformation in 1989 and was reopened later in the same year by Princess Margaret.
North added: “As expected, Coronavirus has reduced the number of people we have at work, so we have redeployed staff to plan the reopening of the covered market – this is really a priority for us and having someone to focus on this really has helped and eventually allowed us to reopen on July 7th.
“We will now work with traders to assist them in risk assessments and preparations needed to reopen.”
Traders were contacted today to inform them of the update and a meeting is scheduled to discuss the reopening next week.
Counselor Mick Barker, chief cabinet of the markets and elected president of the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA), said: “Traders are understandably extremely frustrated by the delay in reopening. I share their frustrations. This is their livelihood. – many of these businesses have been passed down from generation to generation – the last thing I want to see is well respected and historic businesses penalized, or worse, fail.
“I pushed for the reopening of the covered market like all the other retailers, but I was told that it is not possible for a number of reasons, so I am happy to see that we finally have a solution to allow the covered market to reopen safely. “
If final approval is released next Monday, the covered market will reopen on Tuesday, subject to COVID-19 security measures in place. A one-way system and specific security measures will be operational at the individual stalls.
Last month, one operator expressed concern that some stalls would not reopen on the covered market again, but a number of other operators replied that they were looking forward to reopening when the time was right.
The reopening will be periodically reviewed, ensuring that it is possible to keep the market open during the block.