The proposals for the redevelopment of the city’s market hall site have certainly stimulated debate.
It is heartening that so many people have such a passion for our city, whether they are for or against the proposals.
I have seen several comments about it being a ‘waste of money’ and would just like to clarify that the building of Wakefield’s Market Hall was entirely funded by the original developers as part of the land deal for Trinity Walk, not by the Council. However, that does not lessen our disappointment that the Market Hall has not worked as well as we would have liked. But, we have to face facts - it is financially struggling and it is costing us a significant amount of money to subsidise the traders – something we can no longer afford to do.
I would ask people to also bear in mind that the proposal to build the cinema complex is from a private developer. The Council would not get to decide the nature of the development.
I do believe though that the offer from the developers would benefit the city as well as giving us an exciting opportunity to change the city’s market. This could not only make it better for traders and customers but also ensure it is sustainable.
We know from previous experience that markets in the precinct area do very well and we want to build on the success of this traditional type of market to benefit our current and future traders. Successful markets are very important to the local economy, which is why we support community markets like the wonderful Wood Street market and why we continue to invest in events like the Festival of Food, Drink and Rhubarb, the Pontefract Liquorice Festival and Seaside in the City. These type of events bring people into our town and city centres and deliver a real economic boost to local businesses, and that includes our markets.
Relocating the outdoor market to the precinct and Teall Street area would create a vibrant retail link between The Ridings and Trinity Walk. If this was to go-head we would work with retail partners to help indoor traders occupy empty shop units, which could be a real boost to the city’s retail economy.
We will continue to consult and work with traders to shape the future provision of markets.
Coun Denise Jeffery
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Growth