WARRINGTON’S new £11 million market is being tipped to be among the best in the north west after ‘exceeding expectations’.

The purpose-built facility, which opens on June 15, forms a key part of the council’s flagship town centre regeneration scheme Time Square.

It will feature a spacious food court, escalators and an outdoor terrace.

FIRST LOOK >> New Warrington Market pictures

The current, temporary market building will close to customers on Saturday as traders prepare to relocate to the new site.

It had been due to open in April but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Council leader Cllr Russ Bowden, Mayor Cllr Wendy Johnson, Cllr Kath Buckley and Cllr Paul Warburton were among those at the site on Tuesday afternoon to get a first look ahead of the opening.

“I think the new market will be a tremendous addition to the town centre,” said Cllr Bowden.

“I think people that use the market could see that the last one was pretty tired, out of date.

“We needed to change and obviously we had the opportunity with the wider town centre redevelopment to include a brand-new market offer.

Warrington Guardian:

The new Warrington Market will open on June 15

“If you look at the quality and size of the offer that’s going to be here in Warrington, it is a game changer for us. It will be become an absolute destination.”

Cllr Bowden says there will still be the traditional market offer, alongside a larger food offer which he labelled as a ‘real step forward’.

“We saw the success of that in the temporary market and we are expanding that now here in the permanent market,” he said.

“I am absolutely convinced this is going to be a sound investment for the council, a strong statement for the town and obviously it’s a key part of our wider town centre regeneration.

Warrington Guardian:

The new Warrington Market will open on June 15

“A market can really be a vibrant heart of a town and a community asset – that’s absolutely what I expect this will be.

“I think while we had an idea and ambition around a trading market, what we see now certainly blows me away and far exceeds the expectations that I had.”

Furthermore, Cllr Bowden said he is confident it will be among the best sites in the north west.

The Labour politician also confirmed, due to social distancing, plans have been developed for a one-way system in the building, while the number of people who can enter will be limited.

“I think the Government has had quite mixed messages about how to deal with the coronavirus crisis,” he added.

“I think there’s an issue about public confidence, particularly after the events of the last week or so.

“What we need to demonstrate is that Warrington Market and the town centre are open for business.

“Companies, shops and retail are there for people to access but it needs to be done safely.”

The majority of those who will be taking up space in the new facility are traders currently in the temporary site, although there will also be some new businesses.

Trader Gary Jaques, who runs the So Many Lovely Things and Belvedere Collections shops, says safety is the priority.

“I think, working closely with the traders that are coming in here, they all understood that markets have got to change,” he said.

“It feels safer, it’s a new building.

“This is a market for the future and a beacon for all markets to aspire to.”