A new era dawns for Sheffield shoppers today with the opening of the multi-million pound Moor Market – after customers said an emotional final farewell to the old Castle Market stalls.
More than 90 stalls opened for business this morning at the £18 million complex, with the council hoping to attract new visitors as well as the traditional market regulars.
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Preparations for the launch were being made right until the last minute, with stock being taken across the city centre from Castlegate and new stallholders moving in, ready for the big moment at 10am.
A historic market bell dating from 1851 was rung for the first time in 50 years and a plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor Coun Vickie Priestley and council leader Julie Dore.
Anthony Burkes, whose family stall Tony’s Butchers is one of the longest-standing Sheffield market stalls, said he felt ‘optimistic but trepidatious’ at moving from Castle Market.
“At the twelfth hour it all seems to be swinging into life,” said Anthony, aged 66.
“We’re pleasantly surprised with how it all looks. Hopefully it’ll be a nice atmosphere to shop in – it’s up to us now to make it a viable proposition.”
But on the last-ever day of trading at Castle Market on Saturday, there were mixed emotions – with some expressing concerns that the area could slip into decline without the footfall to support it.
Marie Wright, 48, has spent three decades working on the Their Price music stall, which is not moving to The Moor and held a closing-down sale to get rid of its stock.
“It’s sad, I will miss it,” said Marie.
“You can’t recreate an atmosphere like Castle Market had. Apart from Wilkinson’s, there really isn’t a great deal at this end of town now.”
The council says a third of the traders are new to Sheffield’s markets and the Moor building also includes eight retail units, five of which are already occupied by TJ Hughes, Iceland and Poundland.
Construction started in July last year.
Council leader Julie Dore said: “The new market signals significant confidence in our city centre and plays a vital role in the regeneration of The Moor.
“It is where you’ll find our highest concentration of independent retailers so it’s wonderful to be able to invest in their future.”