Watchdog meet over market sale plan

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A COUNCIL watchdog is to intervene after a backlash over plans to bulldoze Wakefield Market.

Traders say takings started to plummet in February when Wakefield Council chiefs revealed proposals to sell the market to developers.

A petition started by traders has been signed by more than 10,000 people, prompting the plan to be referred to the council’s corporate performance overview and scrutiny committee, which meets at Country Hall from 2pm on Tuesday. The committee has powers to make recommendations to the council’s cabinet committee.

The council is considering a proposal by the owners of nearby Trinity Walk shopping centre to redevelop the market, which has struggled since it opened in 2008.

The outdoor market could be moved to the Cathedral precinct.

Martin Ashby is Wakefield Market’s longest serving trader who has run Martin’s Textiles for 48 years. He said: “I’m having to downsize because very few people are coming in the market. Since the announcement in February my business has gone down 70 per cent.”

A report to Tuesday’s meeting states: “The council has received a petition stating: ‘Wakefield Market Closure – What a Disgrace. Wakefield Market is going to be closed and pulled down because Wakefield Council think people want a cinema and eating places instead. When there are less jobs, less money and more people needing markets, their reasoning for closing doesn’t make sense.’”


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