Indoor market plans could boost choice for Ripon shoppers

Ripon is believed to have had a market for more than 1000 years. 100729AR2pic.
Ripon is believed to have had a market for more than 1000 years. 100729AR2pic.

Plans continue to create new facilities for independent traders on the site of a well-known Ripon shop.

Philip Hall department store is set to be transformed into an independent market hall, due to open by mid September this year.

The new hall will provide stalls for small local traders and producers to sell direct to consumers, and will also throw open its doors to charities and fundraising groups.

One stall in the market hall will be available to charity groups each week, said owner Anthony Blackburn, who is overseeing the former department store’s transformation into a market hall.

He added: “We have had an excellent response from people wanting to take space and from the public who think it’s a good thing for Ripon.

“It will be called Independents Hall and will feature local people selling great products in a high profile, quality environment. The main categories will be food and drink, craft and gift, fashion and accessories, and vintage. There will be much more, including workshop space and a tearoom.

“On any day up to 35 new independent retailers will have space in Ripon, bringing more choice to customers.”

He has also announced ambitious plans to provide workshop spaces and an area for arts and craft teaching in the upper floors of the building, and is hopeful that by making low cost space available to small local producers the market hall will help new businesses as they start out.

Mr Blackburn said: “The beauty of the concept is that it makes retail space affordable for small independents and emerging retail businesses.

“From as little as £10 a day local people can take space and establish their retail business.”

The closure of Philip Hall was announced in mid July. Speaking at the time, Mr Blackburn said the market hall plan offered a way forward for the department store which had struggled through the recession.

He said: “I have looked at it and tried many things, but unfortunately with the economic climate and the unseasonable weather, I couldn’t see a way forward for the department store.”

Anyone interested in the market hall should contact him on 07957 896 007 or ab.pmh01@gmail.com.