A PLAN has been submitted to create an outdoor café and dining area with space for pop-up food stalls to help revitalise Dudley Marketplace.

Dudley Council has submitted the plan seeking a change of use for some of the market stalls.

Council bosses have drawn up the proposal in the hope the development might entice shoppers to spend more time in the marketplace.

The submission of the plan comes after stalwart councillor Michael Evans told the council’s Licensing and Safety Committee “Dudley Market is dead”.

A design and access statement submitted as part of the planning application states: “The proposed changes to the market aren’t just focusing on creating a café, it is part of a wider regeneration strategy to help the town.

“We believe the updated market structure will help create a central hub to serve those within the local and wider community.”

It says the plan would give a start-up business chance to establish themselves in Dudley and bring “an additional draw to the location”.

It adds: “By integrating a new seating area and opening the stalls within the vicinity of the new café will provide a unique opportunity to host an array of events for the community protected from the weather.”

The statement continues: “Ultimately, any changes will generate interest in the area, but by strategically implementing these changes will have a positive lasting impact on the area.

“As part of the Dudley Marketplace improvements, several existing stalls have been identified to locate an outdoor café and seating area, the stalls are adjacent the existing storage building.

“The proposed café will have three open counter sides to serve the public, the rear wall would be more solid construction and clad in a steel patterned sheeting.

“When the café is not in operation the open three sides will be enclosed with full height roller shutters for security, “The outdoor seating area will have fixed tables and benches, it is proposed to include with sheltered side protection from passers-by and the elements.”

The plan also includes the modification of two existing stalls to accommodate two pop-up kitchens for street food vendors.

Some existing stalls would be removed to make way for a seated dining area with overhead outdoor heaters for warmth on cold days.

The development would be contained within the footprint of the existing market stalls.

Councillor Paul Bradley, deputy leader of Dudley Council and cabinet member for communities and economic delivery, described the proposal as “an exciting project that forms part of our wider regeneration strategy to help the town”.

He said the development would create “an outdoor enclosed cafe and more versatile pop-up street food stalls” and he added: “This will provide business opportunities and a new venue for an array of events for shoppers to enjoy protected from the weather.”

The requested opening times for the café would be 7am to 10pm to allow for deliveries and future events.

The plan is open to feedback from the public until March 20.

People can find out more and have a say on the council’s planning portal (search application number P24/0135).