Highland Council releases artist's impression of new look interior for part of the Victorian Market in Inverness; work on the £1.6 million revamp begins in January
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THE £1.6million project to revamp Inverness’ historic Victorian Market is expected to start in January – and an artist's impression of the transformation has been released to mark the news.
A full refurbishment of the market hall and former fish hall will involve an internal strip out, including all existing shop units – to be replaced by new units, a central seating area, and public toilets.
The planned work, which will affect the Market Hall and Fish Hall only – and not the Arcade or Queensgate areas – is expected to be complete by January 2022.
The Victorian Market will remain open during the project.
Works are being managed and delivered by Highland Council’s property team, with WGC Scotland as the chosen contractor.
The project is being funded by Inverness Common Good Fund & Town Centre Funding, with an approved budget of £1,750,000.
A business plan for the transformation of the Market Hall (including the former Fish Hall) was approved by councillors last November.
It was developed at the request of the City of Inverness Area Committee, and follows on from the Victorian Market Action Plan which aims to improve trading conditions for the market and the city centre.
The council hopes the moves will "create a viable future for an asset that is not delivering its potential revenue for the Inverness Common Good Fund". They also hope it will increase footfall in the city centre.
Inverness City Provost, Cllr Helen Carmichael, said: “The Victorian Market is more than a destination for shops and restaurants, but it is an important community hub.
“We all know that during its 150 years the market has had to survive war, fire, recession, threats from national retailers, online shopping and now coronavirus.
“With that in mind it is important that we help protect the market for another 150 years. The refurbishments will not only give the market a new lease of life, but it will also help ensure its continued profitability in the challenging retail environment we have today.”
She added: “I am sure the Market will continue to be the social hub and visitor attraction it has always been, with a future-facing outlook.”
William Morrison, of Morrison Jewellers, Market Arcade, said: “I am simply delighted that this very exciting refurbishment of the Market Hall has been given the go-ahead. As the Victorian Market is the nucleus of the Old Town this will do so much for all the surrounding businesses.”
John Ewart, Milk Bar, Market Arcade and member of the Victorian Market Stakeholder Group said: “We believe the development of Market Hall will be a key part of the post Covid-19 recovery for the city centre of Inverness.
“Those of us who will continue to trade throughout the development period look forward to welcoming and working alongside the businesses that will join us in a newly refurbished Market Hall.”
Juan Rodroguez, Café De Paulo, Queensgate, said: “The redevelopment of the Market Hall will bring a new dimension to the Victorian Market and the centre of Inverness. With particular focus on food and drink this opportunity will transform the market to a modern, cosmopolitan hub creating a new opportunity for businesses and offering a wide range of services to locals and tourists.”
The council said that Hall tenants will now receive the agreed compensation package in relation to notices to quit being served.