Planning delay leaves market hall plan in limbo

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A delay in plans being drawn up to turn Wakefield Market into a cinema is preventing council bosses from pressing ahead with the sale of the site.

The owner of nearby Trinity Walk shopping centre - who asked to buy the market from Wakefield Council in July 2014 - is yet to submit a planning application which was expected by the council six months ago.

The market will be turned into a cinema complex with retail units. A new outdoor market will open in the Cathedral precinct.

Indoor traders were expected to move into the Ridings Shopping Centre, but remain at the Union Street market hall while the planning application is awaited.

In January this year, deputy council leader Denise Jeffery said: “We are expecting a planning application in March for the cinema and then over the summer we shall be moving the market traders into the Ridings.”

Coun Jeffery said yesterday: “We are still in discussions with the owners of Trinity Walk regarding the potential development and are awaiting the submission of a planning application.

“We hope that this will be submitted soon so we can then look to agree a sale.

“We are also still in talks with The Ridings Shopping Centre regarding the potential relocation of the indoor market.”

The Trinity Walk owners said in a statement: “The cinema plans are still being progressed.

“This is an important, complex development project and we obviously want to take the time to ensure we get it right.

“We will provide a full update as soon as we can.”

The £3m market hall opened in 2008 but faced criticism over its design and failed to attract enough shoppers. Wakefield councillors said it was losing money when they decided to sell the site.