Fate of Wakefield Market to be decided by councillors

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A controversial sell-off and demolition of Wakefield’s £3m market could be given the go-ahead by councillors next week.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet could approve plans to sell the market to the owners of the nearby Trinity Walk shopping centre, who want to turn the site into a multi-screen cinema with shops and restaurants.

Under the plans, indoor traders could relocate to a new market at the Ridings Shopping Centre, and outdoor stallholders would be given space to trade in the cathedral precinct.

A report to Tuesday’s meeting recommends that the sale goes ahead, despite a public backlash and thousands of people signing a petition against the move.

It said: “Initial consultation with The Ridings has identified available space within the centre which could be used to develop a bespoke indoor market.”

Wakefield Council would made £236,000 from the sell-off after demolition and relocation costs for both the indoor and outdoor markets are taken into account.

But the report said relocation costs for the outdoor market, estimated at £395,000, would be recouped as the market comes back into profit.

Last year the market ran at a loss of £193,000.

The report said a separate study by consultants hired by the Trinity Walk owners also claims that there is room for a nine-screen cinema at the site.

Their impact assessment reckons it would attract 194,000 new visits a year to the city from people who do not currently shop in Wakefield, and generate millions of pounds of extra spending by shoppers and cinema-goers.