PLANS to secure the future of Featherstone market could see community leaders at its helm.
The Express can exclusively reveal that a proposal allowing the town council to run the market is being drawn up by Wakefield Council.
Council bosses confirmed this week that details were still being worked out but it was “likely” the market would be operated by the town council with support from traders from October.
Coun Bill Mulroe, mayor of Featherstone, said: “The very strong message is that it is business as usual at Featherstone market. It is part of our heritage and the town council is committed to ensuring it survives in the future.
“We have had very constructive and encouraging talks with the traders and I am sure we will be able to work together productively with the help of Wakefield Council.”
Featherstone is one of four “non-core” markets which the council earmarked for possible closure as part of its money-saving review. The “core” of the district’s markets – including those in Pontefract and Castleford – were unaffected.
Coun David Dagger, cabinet member with responsibility for markets, said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to come to an agreement following our discussions with Featherstone town council and traders.
“We had a very positive meeting and have come up with firm proposals which should ensure the future of the market.
“Meanwhile, I hope that shoppers will continue to support the market each week and that it goes from strength to strength.”
The plans were also welcomed by market traders.
Umar Farook, who sells ladies’ fashions, said: “It’s great news that the market will not be closed.
“Wakefield Council has been really supportive of the traders’ and town council’s initiatives and I am sure we can make it work.
“The traders are committed to working with the town council to ensure the market’s future.”
Sharon Dunn, who sells cakes, biscuits and confectionery, said: “It is very positive and I was pleased with the way the meeting went.
“What we traders now have to do is talk to traders we meet at other markets and encourage them to give Featherstone a try so we can expand in the future.”