£1.136 million makeover of Pontefract market is completed

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Visitors to Pontefract will see a new look to the market the next time they drop in, as work to refurbish and modernise it has now finished.

We’ve spent £1.136 million in making improvements to Pontefract market which last year attracted a million visitors. 

It’s the latest to benefit from our investment of almost £6.5 million to improve the district’s markets. Funding was approved in 2020 for four markets to be renovated as part of the markets improvement programme.

“It’s brilliant to see the market hall and the incredible work that has gone into transforming it, to give traders and shoppers the best facilities. 

“We took the decision to invest in its future because an independent review we commissioned in 2018 found that, with some changes, the market could continue to be sustainable.

“Markets play a significant role in bringing shoppers to the town centres and they contribute to our aim of growing the local economy and providing employment opportunities to residents.”

Cllr Michael Graham

Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Growth

Cllr Michael Graham

Pontefract market has been renovated both inside and outside with new flooring, wiring, lighting, ceilings, and shutters. Repairs have been made to the roof to make it waterproof. The walls, ceilings and frames have also been redecorated to give the market a fresh look.

Outside, feature lighting has also been installed to highlight the Grade II listed market facade, that was designed by Joseph Wilson and opened in 1860 by former Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston.  Local ward councillors have also funded repairs to the traditional red telephones boxes.  

Butcher, Dean Goode, is the longest serving market trader at Pontefract. He’s been working there for 43 years, having joined at the age of 17. Four decades later he runs the only butcher's stall and is delighted with the results of the council’s investment in the market.

He said: “It looks lovely. The market has been brought into the 21st century and it’s a joy to come to work.

“Before, the indoor hall looked derelict, but the council’s transformation has made it bright and modern. It’s spurred the traders to update their stalls. I’ve spotted new signs and freshly repainted walls inside the units. I’ve been busy redecorating my stall to match the new market look!” 

The indoor market hall is home to a variety of small businesses, from award-winning delicatessens, drink from a real ale seller to cafés, along with household goods and textiles, sweet treats, and freshly baked goods. There are currently 22 traders occupying 34 units and it now only has two vacant stalls.

As part of the transformation, Pontefract will be the first of the district's markets to unveil the new Wakefield District Markets identity, which traders and the public were consulted on in the summer. 

The new branding has influenced the look and feel of the revamped market, bringing a modern look to the historic market whilst acknowledging its rich history.

Pontefract is the second of the four markets to be completed. Work on Normanton finished in May. Of the remaining two, Castleford will complete in Spring 2024 and work on South Elmsall will start around this time.

If you are interested in opening a business at one of the two empty units at Pontefract market, why not get in touch with our markets team to find out more.

They can answer any questions you might have and if you decide to go ahead with your application they’ll offer all the support you need to get started. Contact them by email letstalkmarkets@wakefield.gov.uk or call 01977 727196.


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