A planning application for a new market in Rochdale town centre is due to be submitted in the coming weeks, taking over the former Santander building and surrounding 19,000 sq ft site.
The proposals would see the market opening on the Butts, close to the River Roch re-opening project. The plot has capacity for up to 30 stalls, while the 5,000 sq ft vacant Santander property would be used for a food court or market hall.
The council took over the running of the market in 2013, to save it from closure when the Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre in which it was based was sold. The market has been on its current site next to the town centre Metrolink stop in Smith Street since 2015.
Rochdale Council is now advertising for an external operator to run the market. The decision on the stall layout of the outdoor market and the use of the Santander building will be taken by the operator, who will appoint an architect in conversation with the council.
All current market traders will be given the opportunity to pitch for a stall.
Cllr Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Council, said: “This new market will be a huge boost for Rochdale town centre, and will go hand-in-hand with all the other improvements that are taking place as part of the council’s £250m town centre regeneration.
“The Butts is a fantastic location right in the heart of the town centre, next to the stunning River Roch and our brand new transport facilities. A good market with plenty of choice is an essential part of any thriving town centre and we’re well on our way to delivering this.”
The planning application will be considered in the next few months, with the new market due to be operating from the Butts by Easter next year.
The council has advertised the opportunity to operate the market on The Chest, the North West’s local authority procurement portal. The deadline for bid submissions is noon on 11 November 2016. An operator is expected to be appointed before the end of the year.