Investment secured to rejuvenate Oxford’s historic Covered Market

GCW has advised Oxford City Council on the future of one of the city’s key heritage sites. The consultancy has informed a new masterplan for the Grade II-listed covered market to deliver almost £7 million of improvements.

Oxford’s covered market dates back to the 1770s and is home to a rich mix of independent traders. Yet the key asset risks managed decline if it fails to keep evolving and meet the changing needs of its users, be they residents within the catchment, transient users such as students, or periodic visitors undertaking unique visits, such as tourists. GCW went through a formal procurement process to provide consultancy to Oxford City Council on the future of the market. The team was tasked with appraising remodelling options prepared by Gort Scott Architects, applying its town centre expertise, data analysis and market knowledge to present a series of recommendations for the Council.

Oxford City Council has now drawn up a masterplan and secured a £6.8 million funding programme. The focus is on enhancing the asset and increasing footfall and dwell time to ensure the market keeps meeting the needs of its visitors. Key improvements will include transforming entrances, expanding internal seating areas and providing a new pedestrian friendly Market Street to improve links to Cornmarket and beyond.

GCW was instrumental in evaluating options and informing the plans. The team has a track record working with local authorities on their town centre strategies, supporting the likes of Mid Sussex District Council on its shopping centre in Haywards Heath and advising Reigate & Banstead Borough Council on The Rise in Redhill.

Oxford City Council’s Economy, City Centre and Green Transport Lead, Ted Maxwell, says: “GCW’s commercial agent expertise helped us to focus on the elements of our initial ideas which were most likely to secure a sustainable future for the city’s prestigious Covered Market. Now the investment has been approved, we look forward to getting the next stages of the project underway.”