INDOOR market trader Alf Coverdale says he’s “furious” Wakefield Council is to close Castleford market hall for the Queen’s diamond jubilee bank holiday despite stallholders voting to keep it open.
Mr Coverdale – who runs a pet shop in the Carlton Street building – says the market hall is to close on Tuesday June 4, a bank holiday to mark the Queen’s jubilee, even though a survey carried out last month showed the majority of stallholders wanted to stay open.
The 67-year-old businessman – who rents his stall from the council – said: “I am furious about it, council officers came round here to ask us to vote but have completely ignored the results.
“The rest of the town will be running as usual and it will be a busy day, which we need to be open for.
“These days supermarkets stock so many things that we need to be open all the time to avoid losing customers elsewhere.
“Even though it is a bank holiday I will still have to pay my rent on the stall. They should be encouraging us to stay open and boost our sales but they’re not helping us – they’re hindering us.
“The majority of people in here feel the same way and we keep having bank holidays which are not helping us at all.
“I have been in the business 37 years and it is a lot harder than it used to be. There are plenty of empty units in the hall now because people couldn’t afford the rates to keep trading.”
The council said the survey showed 27 Castleford traders voted to stay open on the bank holiday, 11 voted for the market to close and nine did not indicate a preference.
Ben Cook, the council’s service manager for markets and tourism, said: “We carried out a vote at all our market facilities to ascertain whether the traders wanted to open or not to allow us to take account of the majority view where we could.
“The majority, but not all, of traders at Castleford wanted to open. However, the opening of markets is also based on the availability of staffing and unfortunately we do not have enough staff available to open and operate the facility safely.
“The closure of markets on bank holidays is the standard approach and closure on these days is built into the indoor traders’ licences.”