MARKET traders and shoppers have broadly welcomed the £25m plans - mostly financed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak - for a new flexi-hall and public spaces.

But some stallholders and customers at the world-famous Bury Market still have reservations about the ambitious project, to be supported by the government's Levelling Up Fund.

The town has long since prided itself on the vibrancy, variety and welcoming nature of the sprawling market, with its origins dating back to a royal charter in the 1440s.

With 370 stalls on its three sites, the market hall, outdoor market, and the fish and meat hall, it has won numerous national awards and accolades, and was voted Britain’s Favourite Market in 2019.

The ‘flexi-hall’ proposed can host food fairs, cultural events and live performances, with a gleaming new oversailing canopy which will cover the existing market and be highly visible from Angouleme Way.

With the tangible prospect of significant investment now upon the market, the Bury Times visited the market hall and fish and meat hall to speak to traders and shoppers about what makes Bury market so special, their reaction to the

investment win and how they would like to see it improved.

Market traders:

Hassan Husseini, known to all traders and customers as Charlie, runs Charlie’s Sewing stall in the market hall.

With an old-fashioned tailor’s tape measure permanently around his neck, he prides himself on personal service, providing clothing alterations and repairs using a variety of vintage sewing machines, different ones for various fabrics.

He said: “What makes this market special is the people. You can get everything here under one roof so the new investment will be welcomed by everyone.

“Meeting customers old and new every day makes me so happy and I hope I’m here for many years to come.”

Mariya Mealand has worked at the Quality Save butcher’s stall for five years.

She said: “Yes I’m excited at the news, the thought of a new canopy is good, if it makes the market more visible from a wider area. I don’t know much about the flexi-hall plans but I’m going to find out what they will be doing.

“It sounds like an interesting idea to get more people in the market area doing different things.

“The last year and a half has been tough. A couple of years ago on a Saturday you used to have people starting their shopping here from 7.30am. Now it’s more like 9.30 to 10am.

“It’s been good to see more coach parties coming back here in recent weeks. Yesterday we had a group visit the market from Nottinghamshire. It was really good to see them.”

Mohammad Iqbal has run the Zenith clothing stall for around a year.

He said: “It’s all about footfall and getting more people to shop at the market. The older people are the ones which provided much of the trade but I think there is still a reluctance from many to go out shopping as frequently as before.

“And with younger people we all know that they are shopping online more and more.”

Phil Herdson, who has operated Wellshod Heel Bar for 37 years, said the £20m investment was ‘not enough’.

He said: “It’s drop in the ocean really but I don’t know what the answers are. My business now is primarily in key cutting as the shoe repair side is declining year on year.

“We live in an increasingly throwaway society so the demand isn’t there any more.”


Sheila Chapman first visited Bury Market as a toddler with her mother more than 80 years ago.

Still with a keen eye for a bargain, she had visited the indoor market to buy a winter coat.

Sheila travels to Bury from Heaton Park.

During eight decades, she has continued to shop there through event like a fire devastating the market hall in 1968 and remembers the new market hall being opened in 1971.

The 83-year-old said: “It’s still a pleasure to come here. It gets me out and I enjoy the stalls.

“Bury Market still has a pull for people of my generation and people do travel in from all around the area to shop here. I’m glad to hear about the investment.

“What I would like to see is the paths and walkways be more accessible for people with mobility problems. People like me who walk with the help of a stick.

“It would also be nice for more benches and places to sit down in the market area.”

Natalie Chadwick, 29, from Fairfield, said many younger people in Bury continue to use the market.

She said: “I love it. The market’s something to be proud of for Bury people. It’s part of our history and I do a lot of my weekly shop here.

“It’s close to the college and a lot of my friends who attend use the market all the time, especially at lunch time as there’s loads of different hot food and takeaway stalls.”

Josh Saunders, 32, from Tottington, said he was concerned that the market investment announcement was ‘headline grabbing’.

He said: “It seems to me that the investment in these projects was designed to look good but is there any real substance?

“A few headline grabbing projects will have money chucked at them but I think real levelling up needs across the board investment in towns.”


Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, leader of Bury Council, said: “This is just the news that we’ve been waiting for, and will be welcomed by our market traders, customers and visitors to Bury from far and wide.

“We were up against tough competition to win this money, and this is the culmination of two years of hard work by our market task force, which proposed in 2020 that we create a flexi-hall to help secure the long-term future of the market.

“Bury Market is rightly described as the jewel in Bury’s crown, which is why we did so much to support traders through the coronavirus pandemic.

“This investment, plus nearly £5m more from Bury Council, will bring regeneration and prosperity both to the market and the wider town centre area.

“We can now move forward at pace and ensure that our historic market is in the best place to thrive, modernise and meet the challenges of today such as online shopping and customers’ changing preferences, providing additional facilities for the community in the town centre.

“Further consultation will now take place with market traders, customers and the wider public and other stakeholders to ensure the development delivers for the people of Bury as outlined in the bid.”