SHOPPERS flocked to visit the newly revamped “lifestyle hall” at Bolton Market.

People got their first glimpse of Bolton Council’s £4.5m redevelop-ment.

About half of the stalls in the new hall were in position for the ‘soft opening’, ahead of its official launch on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Among the businesses was micropub venture Great Ale Year Round and coffee supplier The Coffee Grind.

And 30 per cent of the stallholders in the hall are new to the market, with structural improvements to the food hall also part of the redevelopment.

New traders reported a booming first day of business, despite only half of the stalls, and no food outlets, opening.

Council chiefs said they were “very pleased” and thanked shoppers and traders for “fantastic” feedback.

Bolton Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “It’s good to know that the hard work traders and market staff have put in has paid off.

“I would encourage everyone to come down and look for themselves.”

Two new traders were delighted with their first day.

Dan Buck, who runs Great Ale Year Round, said: “It’s been really busy, a great day. You’re never quite sure what to expect with something new like this but people have really taken to the idea.

“We’ve got a great range of beers, mostly local, from Stockport, Stalybridge, Salford, Cheshire, Radcliffe and, of course, Bolton.

On the micropub, Pat Mills, a member of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “I’ve been to places similar to this at the Arndale in Manchester and in Stockport and this one is fantastic.

“It certainly works really well and the beer is great. I particularly rate the Solstice pale ale.”

Nigel Lyons, owner of The Coffee Grind, added: “We’ve been absolutely rushed off our feet, it’s been great.

“For the first hour it was very quiet and we were worrying, but after 9am it really perked up. People have been really complimentary about our coffee as well, which is always nice to hear.”

Shoppers welcomed the new facilities.

Maureen McDonald, from Bradshaw, said: “It looks lovely doesn’t it. It is a vast improvement on what it was like before. I think the big seating area is a great idea.”

Tom Layden, from Salford, added: “It is brilliant, they have done a great job.

“There is so much more space between the stalls, it gives you space to actually see what is here.”

The revamped market will be officially opened on the “Fall in Love with the new Bolton Market” on February 14.