Best of the North West | Altrincham Market Hall

Thomas Pearson 2019The revitalisation of Altrincham is one of the North West’s biggest town centre success stories, and it began with the redevelopment of a single building, writes Thomas Pearson of JMW Solicitors.

Altrincham Market Hall is a reminder that buildings aren’t just bricks and mortar; they have a life to them, hundreds of people passing through it over the years creating a rich tapestry of shared experience and a heritage that means the community is invested in it.  

It’s a powerful example of the results that will follow when you give a place a heart.  

Listed back in 1879, the building needed vision and ambition and received just that in the shape of Nick Johnson, who saw its potential. A beautiful, interesting structure, in 2014, it was given a new lease of life with a £175,000 refurbishment, the success of which has reverberated far beyond its own four walls.  

The redevelopment of this single building, albeit a special one with a rich history, has been the fuel for the creation of one of the region’s retail and leisure successes, the catalyst that saw life once again return to a neglected town centre battling with declining footfall, loss of business to the Trafford Centre and competition with e-commerce retailers. 

Brimming with character, the rebirth of Altrincham Market Hall as a foodie destination had enormous repercussions for Altrincham town centre and its high street. Now home to designer clothing retailer, Flannels, and with an eclectic mix of independents and big brand retail, it’s a world away from the 30 per cent vacancy rates that had become the norm in the town before its renaissance.  

Completely unique, with a curated collection of eateries and a consistent focus on quality, it has created a reason for people of all ages to visit Altrincham; an experience they can’t find elsewhere. 

Beyond its clever design and its characterful interior, the vision of the team behind the Market’s modern-day guise has been central to its success, as has the spirit of the community around it – an essential ingredient for any regeneration project.  

Altrincham Market is more than just a building – it has put the town on the map. 

As a new decade nears, throughout December Place North West will be publishing views from the property industry on the best buildings completed between 2000 and 2019, highlighting the design and development successes of the past 20 years.

To take part in the series, email with your suggestion for the best North West building of the 2000s, and a member of the editorial team will be in touch.  

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Absolutely spot on. There are food courts aplenty these days, but it takes the special touch on Nick Johnson & Jenny Thompson to choose the spot, mix & moment to make their operations count & multiply. Their effect on Altrincham is incalculable. With the opening of Picturedrome, the future for Macclesfield looks that much brighter. More than any other food court operators, Nick & Jenny have vision & touch that are genuinely transformative. Hats off!

By Phil Griffin

I imagine there was a lot of competition to write this one! Research receipts on expenses?


ALTRINCHAM is my favourite town nationally.
Love the market and all the town’s history. Not forgetting Alty football! ⚽️


Gillian, I think you need to get out more. There are a lot better towns than Altrincham. It’s dreadful for shopping, and the two biggest retailers are due to close (if they haven’t already). It works as a decent local centre primarily because of the wealth in the area, but if you take the market away, it wold have a very limited attraction. Once the fashion for “street food” and over priced food courts passes, it will probably start to struggle again.


Great to see places like the Altrincham market doing so well and keeping alive the towns heritage. Altrincham has always been a notable place as can be seen in art works which will be exhibited in the LOVE WHERE WE LIVE art exhibition being held in Altrincham in 2020. The exhibition will feature rare and unusual pictures of Altrincham by acclaimed artists Bill Geldart, Edith LeBron, Arthur Delaney, George Allen, Helen Bradley and Basil Morrison. If you would like more details about the exhibition please let me know. Thank you . Gordon Allen. The George Allen Art Foundation.

By Gordon Allen

There were multiple successes in turning Altrincham around before Market House and this is, annoyingly, refrequently overlooked when people are just trying to copy Nick’s model without analysing why it has been so successful. One of those reasons is that he is the primo marketeer in Manchester with an impressive contacts list. He invested heavily in selling the sizzle as much as the steak. If an imitator does not check his demographic, doesn’t consult stakeholders and isn’t willing to invest heavily and constantly in promotion and building a personality for their social media, all the industrial chic lighting in the world won’t make a food hall a success.

By E Morrison

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