A major investment of over £4.8 million is being planned for the district’s markets.
The improvement programme would enhance the quality, look and feel of the markets in order to attract new traders and customers and ensure they continue to play a key role in our city and town centres.
This involves investment into the outdoor markets at Wakefield, Ossett, Pontefract and Castleford, including reconfiguration, more attractive stalls and promotional banners to better promote their days of operation.
It will also include the modernisation of Castleford and Pontefract market halls and the reconfiguration of South Elmsall and Normanton markets to improve links to the high street.
The investment will also provide financial support for traders who wish to modernise their own units. This would help with the overall visual improvement of the market and, alongside training and development opportunities, provides traders with a chance to develop their business.
Subject to planning approvals, the Council are hopeful that work will begin on each site late next year and be completed by summer 2021.
Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said:
Although the usage of markets has undoubtedly declined over the years, as consumer shopping habits have changed, the Council recognises that they are an integral part of our city and town centres and provide an important focal point and social experience for many residents. We also know they provide access to local, fresh produce and an excellent environment for small businesses to start up and grow. It is important that we can offer quality markets that can compete and evolve as the use of the high street continues to change but they must also be sustainable and that’s why we will also be setting more realistic expectations of the income our markets generate to ensure we can focus on their development.
Members of Cabinet will discuss the report at their meeting on 14 January at 10.30am in Wakefield Town Hall. The meeting can be watched live or later on the Council’s website.