Page 13 - MarketTimesAugust2019
P. 13

 Huddersfield market traders
facing move as part of £250m
town centre transformation
 KIRKLEES Council has un- veiled its 10-year vision to trans- form Huddersfield town centre at a cost of £250 million — and it will mean a big upheaval for traders at Queensgate Market.
The blueprint will see traders leave the Grade II listed market hall by autumn 2020 and set up stall in the empty BHS store a short dis- tance away as a temporary mea- sure.
The market building will be con- verted into a “sound centre” at the heart of a new cultural quarter housing a recording studio, music workshops and a music venue ac- commodating more than 700 con- cert goers.
The masterplan is for the traders to be rehoused in a new purpose- built market near the town’s open (covered) market by 2023.
Traders were shocked by the an- nouncement — made at a meeting for tenants the day before the plans were made public.
Mark Smith, who has a busy fruit and veg business in Queensgate market, said: “As liaison officers for the NMTF group representing tenants of the market, we have al- ways tried to work with Kirklees
Council for the benefit of everyone and we like things to be open and transparent, but we were not privy to any of the plans right up until the meeting.”
Although some traders question why they cannot stay put in Queensgate market, which they concede needs investment, the ma- jority are happy with the move to the empty BHS store which is in the retail heart of town.
But there are doubts about the plans to move them to a new pur- pose-built market by 2023, accord- ing to Howard Fanning, who runs an ironmongery business in the market and is also a liaison officer for the NMTF group.
“We don’t want to be out on a limb and sidelined away from the main retail heart of town,” Howard said.
The council’s plans are ambitious and focus on regenerating six key areas. The blueprint takes on board plans by Network Rail to invest a rumoured £10 billion in Hudders- field station which would become a “gateway” halfway between Leeds and Manchester.
There are plans for new private
Mark Smith (left) and Howard Fanning
 The ultimate plan is to build a new indoor market near the magnificent Victorian outdoor open market canopy, and traders hope it will be on the adjacent Tesco site
housing near the open market which would help towards financ- ing the project.
Howard said: “It is a massive pro- gramme which could shift the re- tail centre of Huddersfield from New Street to King Street and Kingsgate,
“But at the moment everything is still vague and the 60 traders in Queensgate are understandably worried about their future.”
Mark said that although they were happy about the temporary move to the BHS building, the ten-
ants currently had good protection from long leases, and they could lose that security with the move.
Traders’ concerns about the tem- porary site include a lack of park- ing and issues over unloading and storage, the fact that the main post office was moving away, and the lack of bus routes — currently buses stop outside Queensgate market.
Mark said: “Another issue is that it is taking the market away from the university area and its potential 30,000 customers.”

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