A MASSIVE overhaul of Radcliffe town centre could soon get under way, with £800,000 being splashed out to refurbish Radcliffe Market Hall.

Traders have welcomed the council’s plan to transform the shopping area into an attractive hub, but said it is vital that work begins as soon as possible.

Bury Council’s cabinet was meeting at Bolton Road Methodist Church last night to discuss the details of bringing the market hall into the 21st century.

One of the most innovative features of the new hall will be solar panels fitted to the roof.

It is hoped the panels will be able to drastically reduce the hall’s running costs.

There will be a new toilet block that will be open on non-market days and the existing toilet block — described in a council report as “a blight on the external passageway adjacent to the market hall” — will be removed.

The outside of the rebuilding will be reclad, windows will be installed allow in more natural light, and a new central entrance will be added.

The number of shops and stalls will increase and a cafe will be opened and could trade on non-market days.

Wi-fi will be installed so shoppers can enjoy free internet access.

The council has set aside 16 weeks to draw up the plans and get formal permission for construction work. It is possible the new-look market hall could be up and running by the end of next summer.

Cllr Jane Lewis, who represents Radcliffe North and is the council’s leisure representative, said: “The renovation is a really exciting development.

“This investment will provide a bright, modern and vibrant market space for market traders, as well as making the town centre more attractive for shoppers.

“I hope that the residents of Radcliffe feel that this is a positive step forward.”

Bury Council leader Mike Connolly added: “We are committed to working in partnership with traders to ensure the market thrives and brings in shoppers from nearby and further afield.

“We want to provide them with a more attractive and improved shopping experience, including new customer toilets.

“It is part of a wider investment plan for the town centre which would redevelop the current bus station site.”

Radcliffe North Cllr Matt Bailey said: “The town centre, and the market in particular has long cried out for substantial investment such as this, and therefore I can give my support to the plans wholeheartedly.”