Restoration plan for market front

Abingdon Street Market, Blackpool
Abingdon Street Market, Blackpool

BLACKPOOL’S historic market building is set for a facelift.

Plans have been revealed which will see some of the original features restored to the Abingdon Street frontage.

It is hoped to start work after Christmas.

Market manager Bob Littlewood said: “The work needs doing in order to improve the front of the building.

“Following the creation of St John’s Square, a lot of the buildings in this area have been improved so we want to make sure we’re part of that.

“We are going to take the Tudor cladding off and replace it and put in new windows, while there will be a new facade and entrance at ground floor level.

“This follows on from work we have already done which has seen the back of the market rendered and re-painted.

“We hope to start after Christmas and we’ll stay open throughout, with hopefully as little disruption as possible to the stall-holders.

“Everyone is very excited about the proposals.”

The work is being funded through a council townscape heritage grant.

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.

Over time many of the original features have been lost. When it was built, the front including a thoroughfare to enable horse and cart access.

Above this was a lantern suspended on an ornate piece of ironmongery.

It is proposed to echo this feature in the new design and create “a sense of entrance to the market” according to a design brief accompanying a planning application seeking permission for the changes.

The brief adds: “The proposals contained in this application seek to reinstate many of the key features of the original facade, restoring the balance and symmetry intended in the original design.”

The proposed alterations will make the market fully accessible for disabled people.

Carl Carrington, built heritage manager for Blackpool Council, said: “We’ve been looking to do this for ages so we’re really pleased to see this scheme taking place.

“It will help improve Abingdon Street and the look of the whole area.

“We’ve done the back which looks onto St John’s Square and really wanted to improve the front of the market too as the area becomes more popular for outdoor dining.”