MORE than £600,000 is to spent refurbishing the ‘grubby’ floor on Blackburn’s £8 million new market hall less than two years after it opened.
The borough council has set aside £679,000 to do the work which has been welcomed by traders.
Blackburn with Darwen regeneration boss Dave Harling revealed the renovation plan to its executive board.
The work is expected to be done early this year and the cash is being borrowed by the borough while legal negotiations to recover money from the two firms which did the work.
Main contractors Browns and their flooring sub-contractor have both gone into administration since the market opened in June 2011 and council lawyers are continuing talks with the accountants who have taken charge of their activities over who should pay for the work.
Coun Harling said: “We hope to do the work early this year. The floor just looks grubby at the moment.”
Stewart Cunliffe, of Sanderson’s Bakers in the market, said: “This is good news. Its got to make things better. The floor looks dirty.”
Daniel Moffett, owner of Butler’s Family Restaurant, said: “It’s the right thing to do. I don’t think it will greatly increase footfall but it will make the market look better.”
Malcolm Marsden of Whitaker’s Butcher said: “It’s about time they did the floor. But when are they going to do it? I hope it’s on Sundays not during the week.”
Whitehall Liberal Democrat councillor Karimeh Foster asked Coun Harling at the executive board meeting in Darwen town hall: “Why is the council having to borrow £679,000 for work in Blackburn Market when it is only one year old?”
He replied: “The additional capital requirement includes provision for remedial works which may be needed at the new market, the main items being mechanical and electrical works and repairs to the flooring.
“The main contractor is Browns who are in administration and we have challenged the quality of the flooring with them.”
He said the sub-contractor for the flooring was also in administration which made recovering the costs of refurbishing it even more difficult.
Coun Harling said after the meeting: “Legal discussions with the administrators are continuing over who pays for this work.”