The Market, Back Lane and Tesco

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The Market and Back Lane
In the old days, animals were bought and sold in the street outside the Spread Eagle or by the church then later a proper livestock market was built in the market area. It had proper stalls for the larger animals and a fur and feather auction in a large shed. There was also a slaughterhouse nearby. In its long time as the main market for miles around, Penistone's livestock market was a thriving place. It brought in all kinds of people from rosy-cheeked farmers to a variety of foreign people in strange clothes who would furtively explore the High Street - but never stray very far.

In recent times, the market suffered badly from the national BSE epidemic and Foot & Mouth Disease epidemic in cattle. After a long struggle, it was beginning to bounce back but it was a struggle. Barnsley council negotiated privately with developers to bulldoze the lot and start again. See the Market History page for more detail.

The local farmers' sacrifice was the town's gain. The secret meetings and done-deals yielded some good results. The whole market and fire station area was reduced to mud and re-shaped. The 'fur & feather' and livestock market also disappeared in spite of being viable and busy and became lost to Holmfirth. It had been on the original plans. The retail market made do with temporary stalls and orange boxes but continued very well, as the vast new structure started to take shape. This was the oaken Market Barn. It first functioned as a market place in February 2011, albeit without proper stalls. Just trestle tables and boxes, with grumbles about poor lighting and high winds. Both grumbles were remedied later.

The new Market Barn became quite an amazing structure and rightly won prizes. The new retail market was more or less in the same place as the old one. It has to be said that not all Penistonians actually like the Market Barn but yours truly thinks that it is a great asset to our town. Some traders worried about their businesses not surviving the change-over and one hardware trader said that his two plots instead of three might damage his business. In the end, the market place has become a thriving centre and a worthy venue for community events.

Market BarnNew Market - Not clickableMarket barn

The old market ginnel was closed during construction and this caused some protestation, as it was feared that it would remain blocked up after the Barns was completed. It had long been a favourite short-cut and was much missed by local people until it re-opened in February 2011. It is still a favourite short-cut, although there no room to pass more than one-at-a-time, which gives it a certain fun factor.

Teething Troubles
Market Barn OpeningStrong breezes sweeping across the car park were the biggest problem. Original plans had hedges and trees but they were probably just as illusory as the usual hanging baskets, saplings and stick men that adorn every architect's plans. Market traders were forced to park their vans across the side and put up tarpaulins to reduce the wind. The earlier fur-and-feather auction house blocked most of the breeze before it was demolished. At an early meeting, the carpenters emphasised the importance of illuminating the frames with strong lights from the purlins but they were ignored.

These problems were rectified in 2012 (see below) with glass panelling around the sides and better lighting. This was much better and could withstand gale conditions. Another problem was pigeons doing their business on the heads of shoppers and the goods. Netting on the gable ends reduced the problem somewhat.

The building is licenced for public performances and alcohol. In June 2011, the first Penistone Folk Festivalproved to be a great success. It had a bar and a barbeque. The official opening of the Market Barn came along on a market day, Thursday 21st July. What ought to have been a great event suffered a news blackout because the of the problems of the moment. To its great (and continuing) shame, not even the local 'Community Radio' advertised the event, in spite of four of its presenters attending, one of whom cut the tape.

The original town centre re-development plans included a new but small 'Fur and feather building' directly behind Light & Dark photographers and The Loft, etc. but later plans removed it and turned it into car parking. (See the revised parking plan in the Amended Planning Documents). Four hundred years of local history had been terminated by the stroke of the unrepresentative BMBC quill. Even in 2011, visitors continue to ask the market traders when the Fur & Feather market would return. Since its closure, a Fur & Feather market became established in Holmfirth.

The new development is helping businesses on Back Lane at the Market Street end. Now there is a ladies' hairdressers, various beauty treatments, 'The Loft' coffee bar and 'Light & Dark' photographers. Since 2009, Ivy Cottage opposite has been an Auckland's opticians.

Carpenter Oak
This Devon company has shown great expertise in the construction of the new Market Barn and it is an amazing structure. As the name implies, the whole thing has been constructed using oak beams and close inspection shows wooden pegs used in the joints. Just like the old sailing ships. The large picture above was from the first day that the new market place was used by traders, Thursday 23rd December 2010. Part of the area was incomplete and screened off at the time but it was still very busy. My thanks go to Carpenter Oak of Devon for allowing me to use the tall pictures at each side of the large one above and these pictures below. Thanks also to Sam Voaden, a photographer for Carpenter Oak.

New market barnMarket BarnMarket BarnMarket Barn

2012 Barn Improvements
In 2012, the wind problem through the open-sided Market Barn was finally solved by putting thick glass panels around the periphery. It has been very successful at keeping out the wind without detracting from the splendid appearance of the wooden structure. Neither the Royal Jubilee 'Street Party', the 2012 Folk Festival nor the Artisan Fayre were troubled by gusty conditions outside. The glass panels work well but the barn is a magnet for aimless children. One of the panels was broken in a mindless act of vandalism in July 2012, and the miscreant was punished.

Market Barn in 2012Market Barn in 2012

These pictures were taken in August 2012 and show another new feature which was installed around July 2012, the ornate doorway. It looks rather well. The wide view is a composite of three pictures, as it is difficult to stand back far enough for a wide angle view of the building.

No. 6110, 'Tescopoly Drive', Penistone
Of course, that is not its real name. Barnsley Council never named it. This road access is from a new roundabout on St Mary's St and easy to navigate. Foot access is also easy from the market and town centre and there is an entrance and a wheelchair - baby buggy ramp at the top of the car park which connects with the Bowling Club. The car park is spacious with plenty of bays, including disabled, family and motorbike areas. Even so, it fills up easily. Car spacing is narrow and a couple more inches would have made parking easier. On the other hand there is plenty of room in the family and disabled bays.

A road sign on the roundabout directs drivers to the 'Town Centre' car park. It is time-limited to two hours and that must squeeze what the visitors can see and do in Penistone. One of the local shopkeepers says that he is annoyed that there isn't a prominent sign pointing the way from the store's car park into Penistone centre. There is also a small parking area for the Trans-Pennine Trail behind the Tesco, by Fearn's Buildings.

There is some confusion about Tesco's address. The original Back Lane went from Market Street, took a 90° turn after the livestock market, went past the Bowling Club and finished at the junction with Schole Avenue (or the other way around, if you like). It was effectively split in two by the new development, resulting in two, unconnected Back lanes, with the Tesco car park in between the two. Each Back Lane is a cul-de-sac.

Dransfield developer gave the Tesco address as 'Schole Lane' in promotional materials but that does not exist. It was as good a working title as any during development. A better solution might be to properly name the new road from the roundabout and make that the store's address. I mischievously call it 'Tescopoly Drive' for now. Behind the store is Penistone QEII Recreation Ground.


Tesco Grand Opening
The new Tesco was officially opened at 10am, Bank Holiday Monday, 30th August 2010. It was a very busy first day and local people were spending discount vouchers which had been distributed to some (but not all) local homes. Officiating was the then Penistone Mayor Cllr Carol Bradbury and deputy leader of Barnsley Council, Cllr John Parkinson, aided and abetted by Store Manager Mick Somerset. A small tape-cutting ceremony was directed by Barnsley Chronicle's photographer who jumped around in everyone else's photographs. Dransfield's videographer had as much trouble as everyone else getting a clear view. Just like a wedding.

The tape was symbolically cut by both Carol (snazzy red outfit in the picture below) and Cllr Parkinson (green striped tie), with the support of Carol's husband Chris Bradbury (grey tie) and Mrs Parkinson (blue lanyard). Members of Penistone Town Council had the supporting role of smiling and applauding at the right moments. Store manager Mick Somerset (purple tie) handed over £1,000 cheques to Carol for her Penistone charities and Cllr Parkinson for Barnsley charities. The Dransfield website has a reasonable video clip of the occasion. Our mayor's £1,000 was divided between scout and guide groups, to celebrate the centenary of scouting.


Penistone FM's man Jimbo interviewed Cllr Parkinson and our Mayor, who was also a PFM presenter. I made a video recording of the interview for Penistone FM but they did not use it. Just inside the store, dignitaries and the public were treated to glasses of champers, pop and good quality plonk as the specially-made cake was cut in the manner of a wedding, into a thousand pieces. All went smoothly and the plonk was stronger than I expected.

First Impressions
I found it to be too much to take in on one visit and a bit overwhelming for a country lad. Floor plans were handed out and we needed them. A Morrisons employee says that Tesco prices were roughly the same or slightly dearer than theirs.

I would say that the household goods are about the same as Wilkinson's, with less choice in the household department. Well it is supposed to be a 'food store'. The fruit & vegetable section is a big selling point and the first thing to encounter. The word was that it is a 'middle-class pricing' zone, which might explain why prices looked about the same as Penistone Co-op but they also had cheap own-brand labels for skinflints like me. Another plus was Longley Farm products (which the Co-op removed, to their eternal shame).

There were so many different kinds of milk on the shelves - all from similar, docile cows chewing their cuds. Amazing. Plenty of cheeses too. Also a big and impressive meat & fish counter and an amazing wine section that went on for miles (although Co-op wines looked to be averagely cheaper). I thought it an efficient place but lacking the personal touch that we normally find in Penistone shops. Of course there are staff there for enquiries and they will (mostly) be pleasant enough but you can't really stop and have a natter as you would in the Penistone supermarkets. After a while it was too much for my senses and I went. Or should I say that I 'tried to went' ....

Tesco InteriorTesco InteriorTesco Interior
The pictures above were taken with the kind permission of a Tesco official on the big opening day.

The First to Do It
Yes, I was most likely the first. No, not the first customer, that was two hours earlier. No, I set off the alarm while purchasing a James Bond DVD. The pleasant check-out girl had left the plastic doo-dah in the box and it triggered the loud alarm. The security chap courteously and professionally directed me to a side counter where he inspected the receipt and the contents of my bag to work out what had happened. It wasn't helped by the DVD clocking up as £5 on the receipt but with a £6 sticker on the box. So at least I'd won a pound. Anyway, the noise device was neutered after the staff deduced that I wasn't from Kendray and I was allowed to leave. A passing friend said "Don't trust that bugger!". That's Penistone for you.


Residents' Surcharge
Nearby residents' became involved in a dispute over their street and car parking. Unauthorised yellow lines were prematurely put down near Garside Buildings and residents are asked to pay a huge parking surcharge, to park outside their homes. Residents claimed that it was not mentioned when the developers originally visited them when they were keen to have the residents' support. It would appear that the developers simply forgot to tell the residents what was going to happen afterwards.

Before the development, the road was publicly maintained. Now the residents were landed with bills in the region of £3,000 - £4,000 whilst still being expected to pay council taxes to maintain other roads. It had been alleged by the very angry residents that the developers had hoped to price them out of their homes, so as to demolish their properties and develop the site further.

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