Last Wakefield Market Hall traders offered chance to leave site

Market Hall
Market Hall

The four remaining traders in Wakefield Market Hall have had “a lot of offers” to move out, a senior councillor has said as plans to demolish the historic building were approved.

Deputy leader Coun Denise Jeffery said that stall holders based in the indoor market, nextdoor to the city’s bus station, were being offered other premises in the district.

It comes as Wakefield Council’s Cabinet agreed to knock down the facility and build a cinema complex in its place.

The redevelopment, which would also feature a restaurant and cafe units, could begin in early 2019.

Coun Jeffery said: “We’ve been waiting for this to come to fruition for some time. It’s taken longer than we thought.

“We’ve had an offer for a cinema on the site.

“There’s four traders still there. It’s costing us so much money just to keep it going for four.

“What we are suggesting is to demolish the site. It will retain the existing canopy because that is part of the planning application so all is not lost in that regard.”

Asked whether hall traders were being offered new places to go, Coun Jeffery confirmed this was the case.

She said: “A lot of the traders have moved out into other markets or onto smaller premises across the district.

“The ones that are still there have been offered alternative accommodation. They are just waiting for compensation. They’ve had a lot of offers.”

Council leader Peter Box said that the decision to convert the hall was part of a “huge change” in how the city centre will look in years to come.

He said: “There’s a lot of debate taking place at the moment about what the future of the high street is going to be.

“We’re seeing the retail sector go under a huge transformation. Firms you thought would never go out of business have gone out of business.

“Do we try and keep the high street that many of us remember from when were somewhat younger?

“Or can we make sure we accept the changing conditions. The action today is part of that debate. We need to be at the front of it.

“It’s a national problem but locally we’ve got to see what we can do.”

David Spereall , Local Democracy Reporting Service