David Craggs, via email
For those of us who told Wakefield Council that the new market was in the wrong place and of the wrong design, it gives me no satisfaction to now say we told you so.
We remember the time when Wakefield market was huge, stretching back from Westmorland Street to Marsh Way, and across from Brook Street to Teall Street. It consisted of two open areas separated by a large market hall which had unfortunately been badly designed. The ground floor was covered with stalls, but those above were only round the sides, leaving a huge amount of wasted space at the hall’s centre. Wakefield Council has never appreciated the benefits of a good market.
Compare this with Barnsley, which for many years has supported one of the most successful markets in the country.
Not satisfied with its dated town centre it has just carried out a huge redevelopment, including the market. Visit Barnsley any day but Sunday and one finds the town ‘buzzing’ with people, and the market is, and always was, the main attraction.
The question now is where in Wakefield could a future market be sited? Definitely not the Cathedral precinct. This area should be left open for shoppers to enjoy. Some months ago I suggested on your letters page that the derelict ABC cinema on Lower Kirkgate could be demolished and the area tarmacked over. Although maybe a bit on the small side it would be an ideal site for an open market - close to the bus routes to the south, a stone’s throw from the large Ridings car park and its Lower Kirkgate exit, and a fifteen minute walk from the bus station.
Of course it would solve the problem of the city’s major eyesore. Unfortunately time is of the essence, with talk of town and city centres being in danger of becoming ‘ghost towns’, as shops close and the sites remain empty. Barnsley, with its flourishing market, has acted positively to prevent this. To its credit Wakefield acted positively with its Trinity Way development, but it really must sort out its ‘market’ problem once and for all.
Judy Goodwin, Altofts
What a waste of £3 million - the council is to demolish the market hall after just ten years.
Anyone could see this was going to be a white elephant. The only markets that appear to be successful are the ones at the centre of towns.
Why does the council not place the open market on the Cathedral precinct and attempt to obtain empty shops for permanent market shops and offer very low rents and business rates? Give them a fighting chance.