As renewal planning gets into gear, planners are testing ideas and engaging in discussions with traders on what might be possible and what might not be possible. This is all part of the consultation process and designed to get the best possible outcome out of a range of options.
One such example concerns the processing of fish within the shops of our fish hall. In some cases fish waste is carried through the Deli Hall and this has understandably drawn criticism. But the solution is not easy with our current fish shop configuration. For many of the shops, their only exit is into the Deli Hall.
One proposal is that filleting and processing would be done in a separate area away from the shops. That would keep the waste away from public view but it could also remove one of the key bits of theatre in our fish hall where customers select a fish and have it filleted on the spot. A little idiosyncrasy associated with that practice is that filleting is done in full view of the customer. It is a tradition that goes back to the old days when an unscrupulous fishmonger might have swapped the fish in a back room. Obviously, taking the fish away for filleting would be unacceptable to many customers.
This is just one of the many issues that will arise as renewal possibilities are discussed and explored. Genuine consultation with traders and a global view of customer wishes, operational requirements, profitability, and a big dose of retail common sense will find an answer to most of them. We will keep an eye on this one.