Giant TV plan to lure shoppers back to market
Jul 25 2008 by Joanne Douglas, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
‘Working to make this best market in North’
A GIANT TV screen, an oasis of cafes and a deli are weapons in the fight to bring shoppers back to Huddersfield’s market, traders say.
They are a number of initiatives planned for the covered and open markets in Brook Street to bring the site into the 21st century.
Market bosses believe the large television screen is a first for UK markets, along with the first proposed alcohol licence.
And they hope their plans will attract thousands of new shoppers every day.
But customers say parking is still a problem.
Markets manager Bill Wigham said: “We appreciate we’ve got some voids but what market hasn’t?
“The most important thing is we are doing our best to make improvements and make this the best market in the North.
“The council has recognised that we need to do some work on improving this place.
“Of course we’d love it if everything could happen overnight, but the reality is it doesn’t.”
The council has invested around £2m in the covered market in recent years.
Five new traders will move into a cafe oasis – a group of separate outlets sharing the same seating – on August 4, with one expected to have an alcohol licence.
It will complement the butchers, fishmongers, pie shop and deli at the food quarter of the covered market.
Further investment is planned for the adjoining open market with a feasibility study and consultation with traders and shoppers.
Clr Ken Sims, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Historically, markets are places where people can come and hunt a bargain or two.
“In times of downturn, when people are struggling, markets usually see an upturn because they are financially rewarding.
“We are brave enough to take this on and I am sure we will reap the rewards for it.”
Traders say the market would benefit from free parking and better access, but they welcomed the council’s support.
Nigel Turner, of Oliver’s fruit and veg stall, said: “It is nice to see that the council is backing us and a lot of things are planned to make it better.
“They’re not flogging a dead horse, they’re putting money into something that needed upgrading but is still a vibrant place.
“Not everybody does their shopping in Tesco.
“There is a lot of offer here and if more people came for a look around, they’d see for themselves.
“Yes parking is a problem, I think we actually benefit from having free parking at Tesco.
“Certain towns like Dewsbury seem to benefit from the parking and traffic system and maybe that could be looked at here.”
But one shopper says they need to address the parking problem.
Anna Kearney, 56, from Birkby, said: “I do as much shopping at markets as I can, but I do experience the pitfalls of carrying heavy bags home with shopping.
“Obviously many people take the easy option of driving to a supermarket, but they are missing out of the experience of getting things local and fresh, the banter with the traders and so on. If Tesco goes, will the shoppers? Probably if they don’t make it [Tesco] a car park.”
A feasibility study will begin in February 2009 to look at the open market, traffic flow, car parking, recycling and the Tesco relocation. The council has allocated a budget of £270,000.