Market is saved

Featherstone Market officially handed over to the town council. Mayor Bill Munroe with Coun David Dagger. John Wright (town council) and traders
Featherstone Market officially handed over to the town council. Mayor Bill Munroe with Coun David Dagger. John Wright (town council) and traders

TOWN councillors took the reins of Featherstone’s market last week to secure its future.

The weekly market was saved from Wakefield Council’s axe after the town’s community leaders voted in favour of taking over responsibilty for running it.

Umar Farook – who has run a stall at Featherstone market since 1998 – said it would have closed had the town council not stepped in.

He said: “The town council are in regular dialogue with traders – public relations are a lot better already. They care about it and want the market to run for the benefit of the town.

“Hopefully, if they entice new traders in we will get more people shopping there.”

Featherstone market was one of four “non-core” markets earmarked for closure by the council as part of its money saving review.

It blamed the encomomy and changing shopping habits as the reason for dwindling numbers of customers and said a third of Featherstone’s market stalls were unoccupied between April and December 2010.

Interested parties were given until August to submit proposals and the council announced later that month it would transfer the market to the town council.

The “core” of the district’s markets – including Castleford and Pontefract – were unaffected by the cost-cutting plans.

Coun Bill Mulroe, mayor of Featherstone, said: “The town council is delighted to be taking over the market and we look forward to working with the traders.

“The market is an important part of the community and we want to see it grow over the next few months.”

Wakefield Council transferred responsibility for Hemsworth market to the town’s council last October and discussions are still going on over the future of South Elmsall market.

Anyone interested in holding a stall at Featherstone market should call 01977 722654.