THE empty BHS building in Wakefield city centre could be converted into a new indoor market, the council’s Conservative group leader has suggested.
The city’s current market hall, next to the main bus station, will be demolished early next year to make way for a new cinema.
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Only four traders remain at the site, which opened in 2008. Others have already moved out and found new bases elsewhere.
But despite the hall’s failure, Councillor Nadeem Ahmed believes there would still be an appetite among shoppers for an indoor market if it was moved onto Kirkgate.
The old BHS premises has laid empty for two years since the retailer’s collapse.
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Councillor Ahmed said: “Wakefield’s a historic town and I think it should have a market, but we’ve fallen behind the likes of Morley, Dewsbury and Leeds in that respect.
“I was in Leeds Market the other day and I couldn’t move, it was that busy. You’ve got burger vans, food outlets and all sorts going on there.
“My wife goes to Dewsbury Market and she really enjoys it there. If you go Morley or even Barnsley, their markets are always packed out.
“We’re bigger than these places. I know shopping habits have changed but I think it’s something people would like.”
The high street has been under scrutiny in recent times, following the collapse of several businesses.
Coun Ahmed said that bringing the BHS building back into use would help revitalise the surrounding area.
He added: “It’s too prominent a building for it to be empty. That side of town’s been dead ever since it closed.
“If we can create something new in that space around the cathedral precinct I think that would be really nice for Wakefield.”
The issue will be discussed at a full council meeting next week.