THE legacy of a veteran councillor with a “vision for Radcliffe” will live on in the town’s newly-refurbished £1 million market hall.

Residents were given their first glimpse of the transformation when stalls began trading last week before the new facility was officially opened on Saturday.

A plaque to commemorate the opening was dedicated to former Mayor Barry Briggs, who died of acute myeloid leukaemia in September 2011.

Mr Briggs’ widow Sharon, herself deputy mayor of Bury and Radcliffe North councillor, was taken aback when the surprise commemoration was unveiled.

She said: “Barry would be so proud of this if he was here today. A new market and the regeneration of Radcliffe town centre was part of his vision for the town.”

Cllr Mike Connolly, leader of Bury Council, said: “It was only right and proper that we acknowledge Barry’s vision for Radcliffe here today, and honour his memory.”

The market hall was shut in April for the ambitious project to get underway and the building has been given a new lease of life with the striking metalwork of the original roof now exposed, where previously it was hidden under a false ceiling.

The roof now has eco-friendly solar panels, with another modern feature the huge picture window offering shoppers views over the River Irwell.

There are new toilets which are accessible from outside the market, and a separate space which will be used to house temporary pop-up markets several times a month.

The number of stalls within the market hall has been reduced from 54 to 34, with the remaining stalls larger and completely re-fitted. Currently two remain vacant and council bosses are also looking for a partner to take on a separate community cafe in the building which will be open six days a week.

Andrew Hayes, Bury Council’s markets manager, said: “We are delighted with the feel of the new market hall and it will be a great asset to the Radcliffe community.

“The people of market have got a varied market which hopefully will serve them well. What is important now is that people come down and support the market.”

Radcliffe market is now open four days a week, with trading also taking place on Thursdays as well as the regular Tuesday, Friday and Saturday market days. The sale of second-hand goods is no longer allowed.

Work to relocate Radcliffe bus station to the car park next to Radcliffe Delivery Office is expected to begin in March or April next year to make way for a new budget supermarket on the site of the current bus stop and old Kwik Save building.

Cllr Connolly added: “What we want to create a flow from Asda, across to the market and back so the town centre can offer the perfect package.”

Among the traders keen to flog their wares to the crowds was Waqas Ghyas, who has opened a new clothing stall.

Waqas’ father has owned a similar stall in Bury market for 40 years and the 25-year-old, from Gigg Lane, said seeing the council’s investment encouraged him to make the move.

He added: “We get a lot of customers coming from Radcliffe to the Bury stall so it made sense to open a stall here.

“It is really good that the council have done something for the town centre, and hopefully trade will pick up now.”

Household goods stallholder Eugene Corrigan, who has been a familiar fixture in Radcliffe market for six years, said: “Since we have moved back in, trade has been really good for the last couple of days and we have been getting people through the doors. Let’s hope it stays that way.”

Michael Hall, who runs Bell’s Egg Stall, previously traded out of the old Radcliffe market and said the building’s improvement was remarkable.

He added: “I really like it, and it has been busy today. People are just hoping it is going to stay busy.

“My father ran this stall before me and my godfather Tommy Bell before him.”