I spoke with Steve Burns on Friday and made clear the issues I had with the plans as presented at the exhibition:
the lack of evidence that thought had been given to market traders, inside and outside of the building;
the lack of evidence that thought had been given to how the Covered Market Hall relates to other buildings in the square;
the lack of publicity for the exhibition;
the placement of the exhibition at the back of the Produce Hall.
I was assured that these were points of presentation and that the Council is committed to ensuring the future of the Market and working with the traders.
He forestalled one of my questions, which would have been, why was Staircase House not used for the exhibition. Steve Burns explained that putting the exhibit in the historic Staircase House might have given the message that they were treating this as an exercise in preserving an historic building, when the objective is to ensure a future for the market.
I think I can safely say that the Trust is in favour of investment in the Market and in the Market buildings. We just have to be convinced that the plans promote the future of a vibrant and attractive market as well as preserving the long term future of the historic buildings.
Over the next two weeks, the Trust will compose a letter to the Council, setting out our position. Depending on our joint decision as to its contents, the Council may or may not find it useful support when applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Meanwhile, Trust members, shoppers, traders, blog readers, or anyone interested in this issue can leave comments here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This weblog is here as a platform for the wide range of opinions that arise when promoting Stockport's heritage. We will take your opinions and observations into account as we draw up our response to the Council.