Food will be the focus of the multi-million pound facelift for Scarborough’s Market Hall.
That is according to the council’s town centre manager, whose vision for the £2.7 million revamp will see posh breads and craft ales sold at what he hopes will be a sort of permanent farmer’s market.
Nick Taylor unveiled fresh details of the planned refurbishments for the ageing building at a meeting on Wednesday night.
And he sparked debate by claiming Scarborough’s best town centre bakery wasn’t a local firm – but retail giant Marks & Spencer.
“If you want a really nice loaf of bread or a baguette made with the best flour, you try and find somewhere that sells that in the town centre,” said Mr Taylor.
“We have a great Cooplands and a Thomas the Baker, but they don’t offer the sort of specialist bread that we want to cater for.”
He made the point to drive home what he feels is a need for more of a focus on upmarket eateries in the town centre.
And he wants the new-look hall to offer local produce to allow Scarborough to take on market towns such as Harrogate and Beverley.
External work on the St Helen’s Square building is expected to start some time in July, with the building open throughout while the site is spruced up.
By January, Mr Taylor said it is hoped that work can start on improving the building’s interior.
A curtain will be used as a divider, with improvements made on one side of the hall’s interior before work begins on the adjacent section.
Once completed, it is expected that there will be even more units than there are now.
And while they won’t exclusively be catering for food outlets, there will be a much greater emphasis on cuisine inside its walls.
“The ambition is predominately food. We are looking to attract someone who sells artisan breads, a fishmonger, and we would really like to see someone that sells nice herbs,” said Mr Taylor.
“We want someone selling nice craft beers and ales, not a bar selling pints, but locally made drinks that you can take home.
“What we are looking to get is the local best produce inside and to have it as a space where they can sell and showcase quality local goods.
“Hopefully it can create new businesses and new jobs.”
He said there are already some “really interesting companies” looking to take up residence inside, adding: “I don’t think we will have a problem filling the units.
“We already have two non-food businesses interested, which is very exciting.”
In February, it was announced that a joint bid by the council and Scarborough Campus’ Business School for the Coastal Communities Fund cash had been successful.
Cllr Derek Bastiman hailed a “new era” for the hall, which will feature a new mezzanine floor running round three sides of the building.
The campus’ involvement will see it develop an on-line shopping facility.
For the first time ever, market traders will be able to sell their produce via the internet with the customer looking at just one website and making a single payment, even if they are purchasing from several shops.
The entire revamp is expected to be complete by the summer of 2016.