Swansea’s award-winning indoor market is set for an improvements package that will see almost £440,000 spent on the venue.
The work will bring public toilets to the city centre market, along with a multi-purpose communal area, free public Wi-Fi, new interactive LED signs and improved entrances.
Work is due to start this summer and will be carried out with a close focus on Government social distancing guidelines.
The market, managed by Swansea Council, is the permanent home to more than 100 businesses, hosts casual traders and events and was named Britain’s best large indoor market this year in the Great British Market Awards.
Although the market is currently closed to the public, a number of traders are offering delivery services to help the local community through the coronavirus crisis.
Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I’m glad that we can announce this important work.
“With up to 80,000 customers a week and a growing food and drink offer, the market will benefit greatly from these facilities.
“The venue is a key anchor for the city centre, generating significant footfall and helping to set the city apart from other locations.
“Our improvement plan will help ensure the market continues to fulfil this role and that local independent businesses have a home fit for the future.
“As the city centre benefits from hundreds of millions of pounds worth of regeneration over the coming years, the market will remain a focal point.
“We have worked closely with market traders and listened to customers to identify and prioritise the significant improvements that will ensure Swansea Market retains and develops its identity as the heart of the city centre.
“The improvements focus on strengthening the market’s overall offer to the public and traders. Our plan will improve its attractiveness as a destination and further raise its profile as a key shopping attraction and city centre landmark.
“Whilst it is recognised that the effects of the pandemic will last for some time, the council remains steadfast in its support for local businesses and the continued development of Swansea as a world class destination.”
Nick Jones, chair of the Swansea Market Traders Federation, said: “We’re delighted that the council has developed and agreed the funding for this significant improvement package.
“It will help reassure traders that there is commitment to a future of the market that builds on its proud history and continues to welcome and serve customers from near and far.
“We look forward to the work and to welcoming shoppers back once it is safe to do so.
“Swansea Market is one of the city’s great icons and these improvements will help it remain so.”
The £439,000 improvement project is being part funded by the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme and the council.
The Improvements include:
- Customer toilets. This will include unisex cubicles, including a fully accessible unit, and a Changing Place facility for those with profound care needs. A contractor to undertake this work is due to be appointed shortly and work will begin in due course in line with safety guidelines.
- Communal area for seating, eating, meeting and greeting. This will be a welcoming and flexible multi-use space at the heart of the market. It will be clearly demarked by a bespoke, creative design to build a stand-out visual feature and help position the market as a visitor attraction. It will feature indoor garden styling, bringing the outdoors in and reflecting the council’s aspirations for a greener city centre. Located in the area currently occupied by casual traders, it will continue to host events such as the popular vegan mini-market. Casual traders will continue to be accommodated.
- Connectivity. In order to support market businesses – and to give visitors the best possible experience – Wi-Fi will be installed throughout the building.
- Customer Information. To help customers easily and quickly find what they need in the market, the venue’s four entrance foyers will each get an interactive digital LED screen. They will show the location of stalls and will provide up-to-date customer information about events, activities and promotions in the market and across the city centre.
- Entrance Enhancements. The market’s four public entrances will be redesigned to remain highly accessible and to raise the market’s profile through improved visibility and appeal.