Walking into the Market Hall, or Harborough Market as it is now known following a rebranding exercise by Harborough District Council, you are immediately struck by how spacious it now feels.
In the past it has felt rather cramped inside, but when you walk in your eye is drawn to the windows on the ceiling of the building that let in so much light. Savings to now be had on the heating bills I think.
In the past, the market hall sometimes had a disjointed air to it. There was the food hall, the cafe and then the stalls, the three never seemed to be part of the same building.
On the face of it, this is no longer the case. Having the market cafe in the centre of the building, with tables scattered in front and behind it, serves to link the three together in a far more pleasant way.
The food hall stands out as what I believe will be one of the biggest attractions to the building. Apart from the market cafe which is run by the same owners as before, there is now a fish and chip shop called The Market Plaice, a fantastic take-away service called Webbs On The Go and a cake shop called Crumbs. I think that Webbs though has got to be my favourite - Moroccan lamb with mouth-watering salad to take-away was the special of the day. And it was delicious!
In the food hall itself, all the former traders that many of us were so fond of still remain. There’s Sue’s Cheese Stall, John Ross Butchers and the occasionally deafening, but wonderfully pleasant and a treat for the eyes fresh fruit and vegetables stall is still here. Hurrah! For those worried about missing two bowls for a £1, there is an opening to the back of the market where you can get your apples, pears and fresh strawberries.
A lot of the former traders are still here. And with the sheds, sorry market-huts, now gone and the sun out at last everyone is looking decidedly warmer.
And there are toilets! I remember how upsetting people found it, and rightly so, that there were no toilets in the market for customers to use, and now we have them. And they are quite nice too.
The stalls themselves have much to be seen. There is a jewellery store called Selvey and Co which sees me try on an emerald and diamond ring that I fear would not look too good on an expenses claim.
There are also stalls selling DVDs, duvets, antiques, watches, combats and much, much more.
The problem is that this is all great and good, but there’s something that’s evidently missing from the market and that’s more traders. There are far too many To Let signs in a market which has just undergone a massive refurbishment project that cost £480,000.
Harborough Market is now a great place for people to visit, so why aren’t traders and small start ups queuing out the door to grab themselves a stall?
Editor’s note: The Mail is happy to clarify that the name of the cheese stall is Sue’s Cheese Stall, not Sandra’s Cheese Stall as was erroneously mentioned in an earlier version of this web story. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.