Covered Market set for multi-million pound regeneration
After public and stakeholder consultation, Oxford City Council drafts “masterplan”
Oxford City Council is in the process of creating a Covered Market “masterplan” which will set out its proposals for a multi-million pound regeneration of the market.
The Council is working with traders to update the historic market, which first opened in 1774, and has held consultations with stakeholders about a potential trial of extended opening hours.
A period of public consultation was held in September 2022, seeking opinions regarding changes such as a ‘public square’ in the market and a ‘pedestrian-friendly’ space on Market Street.
The pedestrian-friendly space would aim to transform the back entrance to the market into a green and accessible place to relax.
The Council hopes to “secure [the] long-term future” of the market with its plans, following the announcement of a £1.6 million investment in 2017. This money was used to conduct roof repairs and improve public conveniences and external paving.
The City Council is thought to be making a decision on the plan in early 2023.
As part of this upgrade, Oxford City Council, the Covered Market’s landlord, have announced the launch of a new website. The new website has been designed by Oxford web design agency XIST2 to be ‘super-searchable’ and has filtered search functions as well as individual pages for each trader.
The Council is keen to promote the market’s sustainability and ethical shopping options. Traders will be able to use a tag system on their individual pages to highlight if they use paper packaging, offer local delivery, or stock organic produce. By clicking on the tag, visitors to the site will be able to see other traders that offer the same service.
The site also features an interactive market map to help visitors find the trader they are looking for, as well as a ‘What’s On’ section for future events. Additionally, there is the option to sign up for a market-specific newsletter about the market’s latest news and deals.
A dedicated accessibility page explains how to get to the market, and what entrances and shops are step-free. It also provides information about the nearest accessible toilets and Blue Badge parking.
The market is one of the oldest continually operating markets in the country, and is home to over fifty specialist independent traders. It is also a student lunch hotspot, with popular independent eateries, such as Sasi’s Thai and Georgina’s, conveniently located off Cornmarket Street, next to Jesus College.
Councillor Imogen Thomas, the cabinet member responsible for City Centre Action Plan delivery at Oxford City Council, said, “walking into the Covered Market is like opening a ‘Box of Delights’ […] whatever you like to treat yourself or someone else to, you will find it in the Covered Market.”