VIDEO: A wet and windy Monday morning didn’t stop loyal customers turning out in force as the brand new multi-million pound Warrington Market opened its doors for the first time.
First in the queue was Katherine Ellis from Orford, who arrived at 7.30am and braved the elements to ensure she was first through the doors.
She has been visiting the market for more than 50 years and was presented with a £20 voucher by Market Manager Andy Ward as a thank you for her loyal custom.
Other regulars included sisters Barbara Tomkinson and Liz Dunville, who have been shopping at the market for as long as they can remember – around 70 years for Barbara.
As well as new traders and a fantastic new food court area, there were plenty of familiar faces including Dave Carey from the Lock Stall, who operates from the old kiosk which was once in Warrington Baths.
Business was brisk for many, including award winning grocer Rob Leicester, who continued his business throughout lockdown, offering a home delivery service.
The latest addition to the council’s flagship Time Square development is home to over 50 local independent operators. It features the main market hall, home to 28 traders and escalators accessing the mezzanine floor, with a further 11 traders plus Radio Warrington’s new studio.
The large, open plan building, also features a spacious food court and an outdoor terrace for customers to dine outside during the summer months.
‘Cookhouse at Warrington Market’ features 12 traders serving a variety of hot and cold cuisines from around the world – from Eastern delights such as Thai and Chinese, to the freshest Italian pizza, Indian street food and Mexican favourites – the new Cookhouse has it all. There will also be two fully stocked bars, serving a range of cask ales, local brews and cocktails.
The council has been working closely with traders to put in place support so the new building can open safely, while protecting people’s health and wellbeing. This includes a range of ‘COVID-secure’ measures such as clear signage, social distancing, people encouraged to wear face coverings, restricting visitor numbers and reduced seating capacity for dining at the Cookhouse.
Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “The wait is nearly over as we’re now finally able to open Warrington’s new, state-of-the-art market. The majority of traders whose businesses are allowed to open, in line with government guidance, will be opening their doors from Monday, with a few others following suit over the next couple of weeks.
“We can’t wait to show people the results of years of planning and hard work to bring this new, purpose built, contemporary facility into operation. Our traders have worked with us to put measures in place around social distancing to ensure the new building is a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.
“Markets bring a vibrancy to town centres and our new market is a welcome addition to Time Square. I can’t wait to sample some of the amazing new tastes the Cookhouse has to offer. It’s not quite the opening we had hoped for, but staff and traders are looking forward to a new beginning and can’t wait to serve customers again.”
For more information and to see the full line-up of traders in the new Warrington Market, visit warrington.gov.uk/new-warrington-market, or follow @warringtonmkt on social media.
Pictured Market Manager Andy Ward with Director of Growth, Steve Park, Paul Blaney, Warrington Market, Chief Executive, Prof Steven Broomhead, and Leon Guyett, Development Lead for Time Square at Muse Developments and Council Leader Cllr Russ Bowden.