A MAJOR facelift is underway to transform Blackpool’s historic market building.
Workmen have already moved in to begin the ambitious project at Abingdon Street Market which aims to restore some of the building’s original features.
As part of plans, a mock Tudor main frontage will be restored with its half timbering and shop fronts.
A new entrance will also be built as part of the scheme, which is expected to be complete by the end of April.
The project is being funded by a Townscape Heritage Initiative grant, Blackpool Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The market’s assistant manager John Leeming said: “It’s great this money is being spent to make the market look neat and tidy.
“I think it has a very important place in Blackpool both in terms of history and how it is used today. You can still get locally sourced meat, fish and fruit and vegetables as well fresh bread under one roof.
“We hope the new frontage will draw more people in.”
The market was built in 1862 and was originally used as the town’s police station, before being used as a workshop and then opening as a market in 1928.
Although it is not listed, the market is considered a heritage asset under council planning policies.
The alterations are designed to make the market fully accessible for disabled people and help it blend in better with the newly revamped St John’s Square.
And despite workmen being on site, it is business as usual for traders.
Mark Crosbie from the cooked meat stall has worked at the market since 1976.
He said: “I’m sure the changes will make the market look good.
“It is such a good place for new businesses to flourish, some people use it as a springboard to get established before they open their own shops. In the current climate, it is a good way for people to get started.
“Taking the buses from outside has damaged footfall though as its not as easy for the elderly to get access. More seating should be put in St John’s and Cedar Square too.”
Stallholder Bryan Foulds said: “I actually thought the outside of the market was fine the way it was, but it is good to see money being invested.”