Barnstaple Pannier Market celebrates official reopening after transformation

photo at the barnstaple pannier market of Cllr Helen Walker cutting the ribbon

The heart of Barnstaple came alive today (Friday 24 November) as the Pannier Market celebrated its official reopening, marking a significant milestone in the town's regeneration.

The ceremony - attended by North Devon Council's Leader, Deputy Chair, Deputy Chief Executive, Selaine Saxby MP, the chairman of traders, members of the Market Quarter project team and contractors - showcased the market's impressive transformation to the community.

The celebrations commenced at 2pm, inviting everyone to support local traders and explore a diverse array of goods. Guests strolled through the market, enjoying exhibitions in the re-vamped Corn Store while acoustic live music set a celebratory tone.

A key moment of the day was the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 3pm, where speeches celebrated the collective efforts that went into the refurbishment. The works included upgrading the Market Street toilets, relocating the office to the old Pannier Market café, repairing the roof, extensive redecoration, glazing of the doors to Butchers Row, and transforming the Corn Store into an insulated, self-contained space. The storage and bin area has been relocated to the rear of the market, while the wall adjacent to Queen's Theatre was soundproofed to enable more events to take place in the market without disrupting theatre goers. 

Vice-Chair of North Devon Council, Councillor Helen Walker, says: "Barnstaple has had a market since the Anglo-Saxon times. This sympathetic restoration our Victorian Pannier Market will allow this traditional way of trading to be maintained and allow to flourish, hopefully for another 1000 years! I would like to say a thank you to the team at North Devon Council and the contractors - WMS - for the fantastic space we have today. With this refurbished market, not only will our traders have a home but our cultural aspirations for the space can be achieved. I hope you will all enjoy the exhibitions planned for the future."

Lead Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Councillor Malcolm Prowse, says: "The completion of the Pannier Market works signifies a major achievement in the town's regeneration. As the first of four town centre regeneration initiatives to reach completion, the market has been revitalised into a flexible space suitable for hosting markets, cultural events, and community gatherings. The vibrancy is back and I am thrilled to have been part of such a monumental moment for North Devon."

Funding from the Government's Future High Streets Fund program made this transformation possible. Barnstaple's successful bid secured £6.5m from the Government, coupled with £4.4m in match funding from the council. This funding will also cover three other initiatives in the town centre, namely the redevelopment of 36 and 37 Boutport St, improvements to the Queen Street car park, and the permanent pedestrianisation of Butchers Row and Cross Street.

For more detailed information about the Market Quarter Project, please visit: