With Burton missing out on the latest Levelling Up Fund round, there's uncertainty for the future of the Market Place.

A bid for Government money to improve Burton’s history Market Place has failed, leaving residents worried for the its future.

Round two of the Levelling Up Fund, announced on Wednesday 18th January, awarded £2.1 billion to projects across the UK, but Burton will not benefit from it this time.

Launched in March 2022, the Levelling Up Fund 2 (LUF2) aimed to focus on investing in culture, transportation and town centre regeneration.

In their £20m request, East Staffordshire Borough Council aimed to use £5m to support the renovation of the Market Place – a staple of the town for generations.

Opened in 1883, the Market Hall remains an important feature of Burton on Trent for many.

With the Levelling Up Fund missed, some traders are calling on East Staffordshire Borough Council to give further support to the market.

One market trader, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed their frustration at the news and the lack of support they receive.

They said, “There’s nothing here to come to. This is what’s left of your market. They want to get rid of the indoor market altogether – there’s nothing here.

“I’ve been here for many years and I haven’t seen anything like it, but there’s no interest whatsoever: they don’t want it,” he added.

“At the end of the day its a disgrace. How can you come here week after week after week and see it in this condition?”

“Theres a lot of talk here but very little action. By the time they’ve finished talking some of the money is gone”
Jim Carton, Local Resident

Burton on Trent has been a market town for over 800 years, with many residents continuing to shop from the stalls. Jim Carton, a local resident, explained how little action has been taken to support the Market Hall in his lifetime.

Jim Carton said, “There’s a lot of talk here but very little action. By the time they’ve finished talking some of the money is gone. This place was at one time going to become the library, and the library was going to be turned into something else.”

“But the proposals, if I remember rightly, were defeated by one vote at a council meeting, so the library stayed where it is and they’re still trying to work out what to do with this place.

“Look at all the empty space around here. All these shops and stalls at one time opened with a great deal of hope and confidence, but so many places have shut over the years and this has been accelerated by online shopping,” Jim added.

Whilst the Market Hall remains popular with local residents, the cost of living crisis has led to fewer stalls being open.

Disheartened by the lack of funding from the latest funding round, the leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council, Adam Clarke, reassured locals that there is hope for the future of the market.

Cllr Clarke said, “The Council has been actively working with interested private sector organisations and investors on potential funding streams for the Burton High Street project as well as beginning to build a business case for the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“There are still a number of funding opportunities to explore, in addition to the announced LUF3, meaning our work on building the Museum at Old Bass House and Market Hall proposals continues unchanged.”

Watch our summary story of the Burton Market Hall