Tag Archives: Wool Market redevelopment





Every 10 years or so another product defect emerges to plague building owners. The latest is RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete). Structural failures in school roofs built of RAAC in the 1970′s and 1980′s is bad news for budget-stricken Education Authorities – and the Daily Mail is on the case. Enough said. This is a repeat of the Asbestos, GluLam beams and High Alumina Cement crises we’ve seen before and it is not new news – the Local Government Association, Building Research Establishment and Institution of Structural Engineers have been warning about RAAC for many years. Take a look at the LGA website: www.local.gov.uk/topics/housing-and-planning/information-reinforced-autoclaved-aerated-concrete-raac


The designers of 1970′s Shopping Centres and Market Halls were very enthusiastic about RAAC at that time.  RAAC planks were a great solution as roof spans for large buildings. They were made from foamed concrete poured into moulds over mesh steel. Autoclaving the mould made them quick and cheap to produce and the foamy concrete made them far lighter than solid cast concrete slabs. They were just the job for a new roof – add insulation and a nice weatherproof covering and there you have it. The trouble was that RAAC had an estimated design life of about 30 years – more if properly maintained but less if neglected.


As my wonderfully diligent Building Surveyor colleague Vijay says: ‘Why doesn’t anyone ever read the specification?’. There’s nothing he likes more than poking around in dark corners to remind everyone materials have a finite design life. Roofs and drains and plumbing services need maintenance to extend their design life. His recommendations for planned maintenance with advisories from the Building Research Centre keeps Clients awake at night.


There are always practical solutions to sort any problems but who pays? If a privately-owned Shopping Centre with a Market Hall contains RAAC the Lawyers will start reviewing the headlease. That was not an uncommon arrangement for a 1970′s town centre redevelopment where Councils often retained the freehold and a headrent in return for assembling the site. That often included a sublease of the Market Hall back to the Council who then sublet to the Traders. Where does repairing liability rest for an ‘inherent defect’? – with the freehold or headlease or the sublease? And can a product or design warranty be called upon? – both are pretty unlikely.


It’s trickier still when the Market Hall or Shopping Centre is sublet to Tenants. Is there a so-called sinking fund available to cover the cost of remedials (probably not) or could the costs be recovered via a communal service charge levied on Tenants? Try getting that one past a Market Traders Association. As for lodging an insurance claim to pay for an inherent defect – well good luck.


But look on the bright side. If you’re the owner of a Shopping Centre which includes an RAAC-affected Market Hall it is probably under-occupied. This could be an excellent opportunity to relocate the Market into an empty shop (a Wilko?) while the Lawyers sort out a deal with the Council. Relocation could be good news for everyone, not just for footfall in the Centre and the Market Traders.




RAAC.Credit.LGA Print

Following extensive input from Quarterbridge Market Developments and Quarterbridge Lettings, Doncaster’s newly refurbished Wool Market has enjoyed a hugely successful first week’s trade. 


Quarterbridge have been advising Doncaster Council on the redevelopment of the Wool Market, which forms part of the overall Markets estate in Doncaster town centre, since March 2017.

Doncaster Wool Market opened this week with a diverse mix of new catering and retail units

After closing in December 2017 for refurbishment, Doncaster Wool Market opened this week with a diverse mix of new catering and retail units centered around a stage and communal seating area. The building has seen an overhaul in the layout and quality of stalls, toilet facilities have been installed and glass frontages have been put in place around the building. The car park, located directly next to the Wool Market, has been extended by an additional 97 spaces now feeding directly into the building.

Quarterbridge Lettings, the UK’s only dedicated letting agency for markets, designed the tenant mix and pre-let the project to entirely independent retailers and street food businesses.

An exciting new shopping and dining experience

Thousands of people came to the Wool Market over the opening week to enjoy food from all over the world, shop at a diverse mix of quality retailers and relax in the communal seating area whilst enjoying live music and entertainment. The Wool Market redevelopment has provided Doncaster with an exciting new shopping and dining experience.

The future of markets is about more than just developing buildings

The future of markets is about more than just developing buildings, it is about developing social hubs by creating a multi-use space which encourages dwell time and perambulation. The Wool Market encapsulates these values, providing a family friendly, enjoyable space which supports Doncaster’s early evening economy (with the food court open until 9pm Thursday-Saturday).

Social media feedback has been overwhelmingly positive

Social media feedback has been overwhelmingly positive following initial skepticism about the value of the project and future of the market. Businesses in other areas of the market estate and in this area of town have seen an uplift in trade, with some doubling their usual takings, demonstrating the business and community value of thriving markets.


QB- Wool Market Opening Press Release 1

QB- Wool Market Opening Press Release 2

QB- Wool Market Opening Press Release 3

QB- Wool Market Opening Press Release 4

QB- Wool Market Opening Press Release 5