ACCRINGTON'S £7m Market Square development is only weeks off completion.
The ambitious scheme, which is due to be completed in March, involved the spectacular wholesale demolition of the town's former outside market during the autumn.
A new metal structure which has appeared on the site is the beginning of the old building's eventual replacement by three pavilions housing a grand total of 94 market stalls.
One feature of the scheme will be a walkway linking Peel Street with Broadway, which will be called Market Way.
When construction work is completed there will also be a series of kiosks positioned on Peel Street which will house the fishmongers, tripe and cooked meat stalls which are presently based in temporary accommodation on Broadway.
The futuristic development, which will position some of the traders on Peel Street, will mark their return to the location of where the outside market was originally sited when the Market Hall first opened in 1868.
The Director of Hyndburn FIRST, Mr Nigel Rix said: "At the moment the building work is about a week behind schedule, but if the spell of fine weather continues we should be able to make this time up in due course.''
The new market is linked to the construction of additional stores on Broadway, including household goods retailers Wilkinson.
The national retailers will move into a 22,000 sq ft store, while shoppers will be able to reach a new 15,000 sq ft first floor JJB store by way of an escalator.
A company selling beauty products and a nationally known chain of hairdressers will occupy smaller units on Broadway. The store complex is expected to be completed by May.
The new market is being built by the Cheshire-based Pochin Construction and has been designed by Helical Retail Ltd of Leicester. The Walker Family Trust is providing the finance for the development.
Mr Rix added: "One of the things we want to do in 2003 is to find ways of bringing our very fine Victorian Market Hall in line with the modern needs of the community in the same way as the outside market will do.''
The council is looking for ideas from members of the public as to how to achieve this.
People are also invited to attend a meeting of the Accrington Centre Regenera-tion Assembly on Thursday 16 January at 6pm. It will feature a presentation detailing the latest progress of the Market Square development.