Five options for the future of Bury’s indoor market hall have been drawn up.

Traders have been presented with the findings of surveyors’ reports into the condition of the hall, which was closed for safety reasons last October when RAAC was discovered in the building.

The reports suggest that dealing with the RAAC, and carrying out other essential repairs to the existing building, could cost at least £6 million – which is why the council is looking at range of options.

The council will now appoint consultants to fully work up the costs and the timescales for each of these options, and report back later this year.

Councillor Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture and the economy, said: “Closing the market hall at short notice was the last thing anyone wanted to do, but it was necessary to protect traders and shoppers in case the roof collapsed.

“We appreciate that the closure has caused tremendous disruption for traders. We have done our absolute best to support them, such as finding them new premises, along with rent-free and utility-free periods.

“Unfortunately, the ‘quick fix’ we were all hoping for is not available to us, as the surveyors’ reports make clear.”

The reports show that the major issue is the RAAC panels within the entire main roof construction and the external loading bay. Use of RAAC in the roof structure has inevitably exposed the panels to water penetration.

The hall, built in 1971 following a fire which destroyed the former market hall on Kay Gardens, has exceeded its design life. The external fabric of the building requires widespread work, and improvements are also recommended internally.

Cllr Morris said that other factors needed to be taken into account in any decision about the market hall.

Firstly, the council has won £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to build a new multi-functional flexi-hall nearby, and construct new roof canopies to protect the outdoor market stalls. Work on this is expected to begin by the summer.

Secondly, Bury has formed a Joint Venture with Bruntwood to redevelop the neighbouring Mill Gate centre. The plans could include housing and leisure as well as retail.

The council did consider installing a crash deck in the market hall. However, this would take 6 months to install, at a cost of £500,000. It would only be a temporary solution, meaning the traders would have to move again one day and suffer more inconvenience.

Also, there was a risk that it could fail shortly after installation – and the crash deck would prevent access to the RAAC roof panels in the event of a localised collapse.

Cllr Morris said: “All of the options available to us will be considered in depth, and we will keep everyone informed as this progresses.

“Our famous Bury Market dates back to the 1440s, winning countless awards and attracting millions of visitors from across the country. We are determined that this will continue, and will ultimately choose the option that best secures its long-term future and ensure it prospers for generations to come.”


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