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Market Hall
Market Hall – Market Square

Following the Council’s decision to pull down the Market Hall and surrounding shops and buildings, Charter Walk rose from the ashes in 1969. In addition to the retail shops and cafes two car parks were built – an open park under Iceland and a multi- storey park in Curzon Street.

In 1995 it was refurbished to improve the shopping experience by installing glazed canopies to protect shoppers.

In 1999 it was further extended with the creation of what is called Curzon Square on which stand Next and Primark.

2014 and 2018 saw further changes with the removal of the upper tier of shops on one side to be replaced by the creation of larger units such as River Island etc.

Calder House – Charter Walk

Since Charter Walk was constructed the Council has owned the land but leased it to a holding company who oversaw its maintenance and trading – in turn leasing the shopping units to individual shops.

Last October the holding company determined to sell its 999 year lease and the Council agreed to buy it for some £20.7 million

This would allow the council not only to assume full responsibility for Charter Walk but also to own the land on Curzon Square.

The prime reason for the purchase would be for regeneration purposes and not to generate an income stream.

Cafe in Charter Walk
Charter Walk Cafe

At the time of purchase the income from the two sites was estimated to be some £2.71 million a year from the rented shops and a further £1.2 million a year in service charges also paid by the shops. The service charge contributes to a Planned Preventative Maintenance (PFM) programme to deal with any issues to the buildings etc.

In actual fact the income for 2021 was some £2.747million from the shops and some £645 thousand from service charges.

In total a forecast income of some £3.91 million each year.

Money balanced against time

So how has the first year gone?

In addition to the shopping areas Charter Walk also consists of an office block (Calder House) over Boots and this still remains vacant with an annual cost to our Council of some £54 thousand a year.

The possibility of relocating the Market Hall to a ground floor location is still not fulfilled.

The project was financed by a loan (for a term of 30 years) from the Public Works Loan Board of some £22.2 million and annual interest payments averaging out at some £210 thousand a year. – An overall cost (including capital repayments) of some £950 thousand a year.