New traders to be given 50 per cent start-up discount at Wakefield district markets

New traders are to be given a 50 per cent start-up discount on rent at markets in the Wakefield district.
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The offer is one of a number of changes designed to boost trade at six council-run markets.

Senior councillors approved a report containing nine proposals.

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It means new traders will pay their first six weeks’ rent in full, then the second six weeks will be free.

South Elmsall Market is one of six local markets operated by Wakefield Council. South Elmsall Market is one of six local markets operated by Wakefield Council.
South Elmsall Market is one of six local markets operated by Wakefield Council.

Overall the trader will only have paid 50 per cent of the full rent covering a 12-week start-up period.

Other changes include removing the “balance of trade policy”, which limits the number of traders who can sell the same or similar goods at each market.

The “clashing policy”, which limits how closely traders selling the same goods can be located, has also been removed.

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It will also allow for the franchising of speciality markets to increase footfall to the high street.

Castleford MarketCastleford Market
Castleford Market

Efforts will also be made to develop an online presence for each of the district’s markets.

A report to cabinet members says: “The markets need to adapt in order to meet demands of both shoppers and market traders and to remain sustainable retail destinations.

“They require a more flexible approach so, as retail changes, so do markets, and they must continue to do this in order to attract both new and existing customers and traders.”

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Latest figures show that 218 small businesses operate across markets in Wakefield, Pontefract, Castleford, Normanton, Ossett and South Elmsall.

Pontefract's indoor market hallPontefract's indoor market hall
Pontefract's indoor market hall

Around 2.3m people visited Castleford and Pontefract indoor markets during the last financial year, a slight increase on the previous year.

During that time the annual income generated was £887,000, which was higher than forecast.

The sum did not cover the full costs of running markets and the council provided a subsidy of £475,000.

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Mark Lynam, the council’s corporate director for regeneration and economic growth, said the changes were intended to complement £6.4m of investment to improve market infrastructure.

He told the cabinet meeting: “It all very much focusses on how we can improve the environment for customers, both now and in the future.”