3:30pm Thursday 21st February 2013
By Adam Binnie
Watford’s new market could be largely constructed of shipping containers, and will allow traders to set up stalls on a daily basis.
Intu, formerly Capital Shopping Centres, owns the Harlequin, and is taking the space currently occupied by Charter Place market as part of a widescale redevelopment of the area.
Watford Borough Council will build a new £1million indoor market in the car park outside the former TJ Hughes building to replace the market in Charter Place.
At a meeting of the market working group on Wednesday night, traders, councillors and representatives from a design consultant discussed the new site.
Urban Space Management has been appointed as a design consultant and the committee has visited Borough, Spitalfields, Boxpark and Greenwich markets for ideas.
The Shoreditch-based Boxpark was a particular inspiration for the new market in Watford.
Described as "the world’s first pop-up mall", Boxpark was opened in 2011 and is constructed of stripped and refitted, low-cost shipping containers.
Prospective designs for the new market in Watford were based on a similar "modular" layout, made of shipping containers, which would be stacked on two levels.
The market would operate a core trading policy, meaning permanent stall holders would have to operate every day the market was open.
Traders unable to commit would be able to turn up for the day but would not be able to store anything at the market. Current traders will have to reapply for pitches in the new market.
Mayor Dorothy Thornhill said: "People will come if it’s worth coming for. It has to sell what people want to buy otherwise it won’t survive."
The legal handover of Charter Place will take place in March, although Watford Borough Council will still manage the market and collect the fees.
Intu has promised to keep the current market open until June 2014 to allow the current traders to either move to the new market or sell their old stock.
They have also agreed to pay any compensation claims which might arise from traders.
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