Chesterfield Market Hall has been officially re-opened by the Duke of Devonshire.
The market hall, which is owned and operated by Chesterfield Borough Council, underwent a £4.3 million redevelopment last year and traders returned in October.
The main retail hall was opened up and transformed by the installation of a glazed atrium above first floor level providing natural light and the 1970s extension on New Square was redesigned to be more in keeping with the original market hall.
In addition to providing a modern and colourful shopping mall downstairs there are 20 offices on the first and second floors, alongside the historic Assembly Rooms, which were also refurbished.
The project was paid for by £2.1 million of grants from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Heritage Lottery and the Derbyshire Economic Partnership, with the remaining cost being met by Chesterfield Borough Council.
As he unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening, the Duke of Devonshire, said: "What a tremendous achievement to manage the market hall in a commercial way but in the interests of everyone who lives and works in Chesterfield.
“It's the beating heart of this great town - and means that Chesterfield will have even more appeal to visitors. Jobs have been created and it is something to be very proud of."
Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “I am proud that at a time of cuts, when many councils have been forced to scale down their markets, we have been able to invest in the market hall and the independent traders who have a key role to play in the success of Chesterfield.”
Around half of the £4.3 million cost was spent on refurbishing the historic Assembly Rooms on the first floor of the market hall building and creating a suite of around 20 offices on the first and second floors.
The market hall has 43 retail units, of which 91 per cent have already been let. Many of the previous stall holders in the market hall have returned, along with some new businesses.
The original market hall offices have been updated and all nine of these have been let. The new studio offices on the first floor have also all been let.
The Duke of Devonshire said: “One of the businesses I have spoken to today has taken on 16 people since moving here. Success stories like that can only be good for the town.”
Redevelopment work was overseen by the council’s strategic property advisors Kier, with G F Tomlinson as main contractor.
Andy Sewards, director at G F Tomlinson, said: “The market hall is a great historic building so we are pleased to bring it in line with the times while maintaining its Grade II listed features.
“Chesterfield Market Hall is of huge significance to the community in Chesterfield having been built in 1857, it is iconic to the area. We have been working together with Chesterfield Borough Council to make the project a success and we are really pleased with the results.”
In January 2014 the market hall was officially named as the UK’s best small indoor market by the National Association of British Market Authorities.