A FORMER Glasgow market that was forced to close under pressure from police and council officials could be reopened as an upmarket shopping destination.
Paddy’s Market in Shipbank Lane, near the High Court, was viewed by some as a quaint collection of second-hand stall holders but by others as a haven for anti-social behaviour and counterfeit goods.
The historic market, which was housed in and around a row of railway arches, was forced to close in 2009 after Glasgow City Council bought out its lease in a bid to stop criminals operating in the area.
Now owners Network Rail are reportedly exploring options to revive the area, with an upmarket shopping destination inspired by London’s Borough Market top of its wishlist.
A food court and pitches for high-end food vans and pop-up restaurants are also envisioned.
The news follows the city’s SNP opposition group of councillors call for the area, which is close to the recently refurbished Briggait venue, to be given a new lease of life.
Susan Aitken, SNP group leader, said: “We have been discussing the idea of creating a food market in the area as part of a wider strategy to reuse neglected sites in the city,” she said.
“This site could be put to better use given its location. It’s a real shame to see it lying empty.”
A council spokesman said: “A number of proposals were presented to Network Rail but these were not realised. At this stage we await proposals to redevelop the site.”
Paddy’s Market takes its name from the Irish immigrants who came to the city in the mid-19th century and began buying and selling second-hand clothes in the Bridgegate area by Glasgow Green.
The railway arches of Shipbank Lane were used as premises since 1935, but informal trading in rags and other goods went on in the area for at least a century before.
In 2007 it was reported the market was the sixth-worst area in Glasgow for anti-social behaviour.
According to Strathclyde Police figures for 2008, Shipbank Lane was the scene of an attempted murder, three robberies, three assaults, and 42 drug offences among other lesser crimes.
Gordon Matheson, the councillor whose ward the market was located, said in 2008 it was “the hottest of crimespots”.
But traders - known as hawkers - insisted the old market was worth saving and represented an important part of Glasgow’s cultural heritage.
Many blamed a nearby homeless hostel for the presence of drug dealing and said improved policing could have allowed the market to continue.
It is understood any future redevelopment of Shipbank Lane would require significant private investment due to the poor condition of the arches.
Network Rail confirmed it was reviewing options to redevelop the site.
READ MORE: Paddy’s Market stalling for time