Market traders have demanded action be taken to solve broken heating.
Several stallholders at indoor Queensgate Market have said that they are fed up with having to work in ‘freezing’ temperatures because no repairs have been made to its underfloor heating, despite complaining for years.
Many are now working wrapped up in hats, scarves and even holding hot water bottles and said the cold is driving away business.
They are also concerned that they are working at temperatures below the legal minimum defined by the Health and Safety Executive.
But Kirklees Council, who own the market and have an office inn the centre of it, insisted: We have no legal obligation to provide heating.
Claire King and Barbara Bunn, the managers of Café Espresso, which is situated in the centre of the market, wear fleeces everyday, despite working in a kitchen serving hot food.
“It’s just awful.” said Claire. “We’ve complained to the market officer but we never seem to get anywhere.
“It’s bad for business too – we have a lot of elderly customers and a lot will get up and go because they don’t want to sit in the cold.”
A few blocks down from them, Millie Julien of Colin Whittakers, who was clutching a red water bottle, said: “I’ve had my hat on for days and customers have complained too.
“Yesterday I even measured the temperature and it was only 8c.”
The government’s Health and Safety Executive stipulates that work place temperatures should be at least 13c where physical activity is taking place.
Meanwhile, Janet Cocker, who owns Take the Biscuit, said: “We pay a service charge that is used to pay for heating but that’s unfair when it doesn’t work.
“Bizarrely, in summer it has sometimes come on and then it is just far too hot. I think the cold is worsening my back and shoulder pain.”
Mark Smith, who owns Cowlings greengrocers, chairs the Tenants Association and said: “ It’s a continuing problem and I am in talks with the market managers to try resolve it.
“We put the heating on but turned it off because so much of it doesn’t work.
“There are issues about how it will be funded, so I don’t know when work will be able to take place and I think that if work does start we’ll probably have to take up all the flooring and replace it either with over door heating or ceiling fans”.
A council spokeswoman said if repairs go ahead they must be paid for by traders.
She said: “The council has no legal obligation to provide a specified level of heating in Queensgate Market but we are working with the tenants association to try and find a solution which will allow us to provide a more effective solution.
“A comprehensive solution would require very significant investment the cost of which would have to be passed to traders through rents and service charges.
“Tenants do have the option of heating their own units which are on separate metered systems.”