THE Durham Times spent two hours in Durham Market Place last Saturday, the day after the official opening with the attendant protests about the refurbishment scheme.
It was a thoroughly pleasant couple of hours; the market was winding down and as the stalls were dismantled, the area was gradually revealed in all its new glory.
Trying to remember what the old market place looked like was difficult, which may be because the transformation has taken such a long time, but it may also be because its character has not been substantially altered.
Lord Londonderry looked like he had been staring down from the top end of the market place for years, the smaller Neptune seemed less in the Lord’s shadow and better for it.
The seating seemed appropriately sited and durable, the paving perhaps somewhat nondescript in comparison with the cobbles it replaced.
On the downside, the potential for conflict between motorists and pedestrians clearly hasn’t been resolved by the changes and the lingering question is whether the final result has been worth the amount of money spent and, for that matter, the controversy over the changes.
The public meeting on the works, called by the city’s MP for later this month, will no doubt cover some of this ground. The safety issues should take priority over arguments about aesthetics.