What changes are being made to Bradford’s new market?

The City of Bradford Council have submitted a planning application for several ‘non material’ amendments to the new Darley Street Market – which is due to open in 2022.

Bradford Civic Society’s Place Panel had several questions about elements of the scheme. The Place Panel had some specific concerns about access arrangements, as well as amendments to part of the elevations onto Darley Street and the new public square. After scrutinising the plans in more detail, the Place Panel were able to put several questions to Bradford City Council’s Markets Manager, Colin Wolstenholme. Here’s an overview of the exchange, which also provides an update on how the scheme is progressing.

Bradford Civic Society’s Place Panel noted that gates have now been added to the public realm aspect of the new market development. We wanted to know the rationale behind the inclusion of gates. In response, the Markets team explained: “Gates have good precedent in traditional market design and were felt to be of a high aesthetic quality than large roller shutters and will ensure that the space can be effectively secured out of hours to avoid any overnight anti-social behaviour. The public realm will be fully accessible when the market is open. The gates are to reflect the character of the historic Kirkgate gates – which are intended to be refurbished and included in the public realm. A motif from the historic gates have been included in a simplified version in the new metalwork.”

The Place Panel also asked questions about the apparent lack of ‘greening’ shown on the Darley Street elevation, and wanted to know whether there would be visible planting to soften the impact of railings and gates. Colin Wolstenholme, Bradford’s Markets Manager confirmed that there would be visible planting and greenery. He said: “A planting specification is being prepared by the Council’s landscaping team that will comprise of native and non-native species with high wildlife value and year round interest.”

The Place Panel then asked a further question about why, in the updated plans, the trellis, planting and greenery appears to have been removed from the proposed first floor balcony. Mr Wolstenholme explained: “The intention is to use planters at the balcony edge – the risk of falling when maintaining the trellis planting was deemed too high.”

We had some questions about use of space and access – particularly in light of increased public awareness of social distancing and public health. The Markets team said: “The revised current market layout provides improved customer sightlines through each floor and clearly defined walkways which maintain a minimum width of 2 metres so social distancing can be controlled by occupancy. The first floor communal seating area has sufficient space to enable this too with the moveable seating and access to a large terrace and one-way systems can be implemented. Furthermore, the benefit of the external public realm enables additional outdoor trading and seating as required.”

The Place Panel probed further, and asked if all doors leading out onto the first floor balcony will be DDA compliant so that the space can be enjoyed by wheelchair users, entirely unassisted. Markets said: “The doors leading to the balcony are automated and therefore can be used unassisted. In the warmer months, all doors will be held open permanently to aid the natural ventilation of the building and promote movement through the space.”

One Place Panel member had a specific question about ‘out of hours’ access to the market’s upper floors, and public toilet access – particularly in the event that public access was limited due to a performance or ticketed event taking place in the public square. The Markets team explained, “In the event that the market was not trading on the lower ground floor, then customers will be directed to the first floor public toilets. This will occur in any event as we expect the first floor food and beverage offer will be open into the evening outside of the normal market trading times. Depending on the size of the performance/event, we have an option of leaving one of the roller shutters on the lower ground floor leading to the public toilets open, with the aisles screened with temporary barriers controlled by security staff.”

Bradford Civic Society looks forward to further dialogue with the City Council’s Markets team as the development progresses.