A trader with nearly 40 years of experience has revealed a scheme he hopes could be the key to saving Birmingham’s beleaguered wholesale markets.
The plans by Dave Everett, co-chair of the outdoor market traders’ association, outline his vision for the city’s historic market areas.
Including a re-vamped wholesale and outdoor market, art gallery, heritage site, restaurants, coffee shops and a food and hygiene college, Mr Everett hopes his idea will kick-start discussions over the market’s future and attract potential developers to consider what would be a multi-million city centre redevelopment. This is just a vision,” he said, “the start of something that will be constructive for all parties, including the council.
“I want it to be the instigation of imagination. It is an individual plan put forward, without prejudice, by retail market traders. It is an invitation for discussion.
“There will be critics but I welcome criticism and comment because it invites discussion and a move forward.
“This is an idea; look at it, criticise it and improve it if you can. It is imaginative but that’s what the city should be based on.”
The initial drawings show a new three-storey building on the current wholesale market site with the market split over two floors.
The rest of the building would be dedicated to retail and living space with the potential for a food and hygiene college.
Existing walls around the market would be demolished, putting an end to its fortress like appearance and linking it to the outdoor market and historic Manor House and Moat Square.
Above the outdoor market would hang a canopy which Mr Everett said could become a Birmingham landmark attracting tourists to the area. “We are a European city and we should be proud of it.
“Birmingham city markets have given me a living for 38-years, as a market trader they are my life. I want to put something back.”
Fellow chair of the outdoor traders association Bernice Ellis said the plans drawn up by the retail market would be a world first and, if realised, become a benchmark for wholesale markets across the world.
She said: “This is setting the standard into the next generation. Birmingham was built around these markets and we should be leading the way and showing other cities how to run their markets.”