'Leave our city’s market where it is' Proposals to relocate Wakefield market met with anger

Wakefield Council has been forced into a rethink after proposals to move the market was met with anger - with one trader labelling the suggested destination as “no-man’s land”.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 10th June 2022, 4:05 pm

A review into the market carried out last year proposed that all stalls be moved onto Brook Street, which was put to traders last week.

But after a furious backlash, the council has quickly relented.

Coun Denise Jeffery, leader of the council, said the market was an “important component” on the city centre regeneration, but added: “It’s no secret that the market has struggled in its precinct location and a recent review, carried out by officers, had identified Brook Street as a potential site.

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Market traders’ concerns: Paul Wilson, Wendy Evans and Waseem Nasir have all voiced concerns about the market’s potential move.

“However, I have considered this recommendation and believe that there are better options, and can confirm that we will not be moving the market to Brook Street.

“My officers will be working with traders over the coming months to look at all options, before we make a decision.”

Wendy Evans, who runs the Avon stall on Teall Street and has been a trader for 11 years, welcomed Coun Jeffery’s response, but admits she was furious that Brook Street had even been considered.

She told the council they “had a fight on their hands” if they thought the traders would simply up sticks and move. Wendy, who had begun a petition, said: “There’s just no footfall on Brook Street and even the shops are moving from down there.

Traders described Brook Street as ‘no-man’s land’; The study showed there were ‘gaps’ in the market, caused by empty stalls.

“We’ve spoken to all the traders and none of them wanted to move there. It’s no-man’s land.

“We’ve been moved four times since the market hall closed, we’re just going around in circles.

“They have spent a fortune on a market team and doing these surveys, money they do not need to spend.

“They should be focussing on building this market back up and get it thriving again.”

Traders working along the Teall Street area say their current position is a prime location due to it being a natural throughway between Trinity Walk and The Ridings, where they say the majority of the city’s footfall is.

They also questioned why Wakefield Council wants to move the stalls, claiming the market is of minimal cost to the authority because they provide few facilities, including the clean up of waste, which the traders must take with them at the end of each day.

Paul Wilson, who has run a hat stall for four years and is now positioned on Teall Street, says he was shocked that Brook Street was even considered.

He said: “We’ve been up there before and it just does not work, there’s probably about 70 per cent less takings.

“People go to Trinity and then to The Ridings.

“We have spent four or five years building trade up here.”

He is also angry that the market traders have been left out of the decision making.

“There’s been no consultation, it’s bang out of order,” he added.

Trader Waseem Nasir, who comes from a family of market traders and runs a ladies clothing stall in the centre, was also upset by the council’s proposals, says moving the market may not be economical.

He said: “We wouldn’t be able to take enough for the rent.

“We have managed to get through the pandemic and then we get this.”