Mid Wales

Newtown market hall renovation plan wins £1.8m funding

Architect's impression of new Newtown market hall Image copyright George+Tomos
Image caption The building will be restored to its original Victorian style

Plans to renovate a 140-year-old Grade II-listed market hall in Powys have been promised £1.8m of funding.

Mid Wales Food and Land Trust will take over the Victorian building in the centre of Newtown in April and hope to re-open the building by Easter 2015.

The new market hall will include a "food hub" for local producers.

Meanwhile Newtown Town Council has decided to launch a year-long trial to close off the High Street to cars on market days.

The trust's executive director, Cath Smith, said funding had been secured through the Big Lottery and Heritage Lottery funds and the Welsh government's Community Facilities and Assets programme.

She added that the trust would invite tenders for the refurbishment project in March and take on a 99-year lease from Powys council in April.

'Visiting experience'

"The building will be restored to its original Victorian style as opposed to the cattle shed it looks like at present," said Ms Smith.

"We aim to re-open by Easter 2015 with a strong emphasis on local food producers to help support the local economy.

"We also want to create a community cafe and a home meals service."

Image caption Newtown High Street will be closed on market days for a trial period

The market hall was built in 1870 with one entrance at the town's High Street.

The town council has decided to launch a trial pedestrianisation of the street every Tuesday - market day - from 1 April.

Mayor of Newtown Rina Clarke said: "We want to improve the shopping and visiting experience for people coming into town and reclaim the street for the market one day a week."

The move has been "tentatively" welcomed by the town's Chamber of Trade.

Vice-chairman Angela Moore said the opinions of individual traders was mixed.

"Some feel that pedestrianisation is detrimental to trade because it can put people off coming to town," she said.

"Speaking as a retailer I believe we need to provide an area which is pleasant for people visiting the town so they stay for longer periods."

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