Markets set to close?

Wakefield market hall.
Wakefield market hall.

ALL MARKETS could be closed down or be handed to private firms and community groups if they are deemed “unsustainable” by council bosses.

Wakefield Council is conducting a cost-saving review of all the district’s markets – including the city centre’s controversial £3m market hall- as it slashes spending after huge budget cuts were imposed by the coalition government.

The review, which will result in a report to the council’s cabinet next month, is looking at incomes generated and spending on staff and maintenance before decisions are made about the future of each market.

Private companies, town and parish councils and cooperatives formed by traders could run any which council bosses decide are not cost effective.

But some could potentially close if nobody comes forward to take them over.

On Wednesday Ben Cook, the council’s markets service manager, told the skills, enterprise and work overview and scrutiny committee: “We are reviewing the sustainability of each of our market facilities.

“We have situations in some market facilities where the number of traders is down and it has been down for a number of years.

“If we think they are unsustainable we may decide to cease running them as a council.”

Mr Cook said private firms would be charged fees to run markets where traders’ groups and town and parish council’s would not.

Wakefield, Ossett and Normanton markets are all part of the review. A meeting of Wakefield Council’s cabinet will consider the results on May 31.

A council spokesperson said: “There is the potential that market facilities could close in the future if they are unsustainable and no other organisation wishes to run them. However, nothing has yet been decided about any market facility in the district.”