The relocation of Hebden Bridge market has taken a step forward as consultation gets underway to give local shoppers and traders the chance to help shape the new design and layout.
Local residents and businesses have had a long-standing aspiration to see the town’s market move from its current location in Valley Road Car Park.
In response to this, Calderdale Council’s Markets Working Group has agreed to recommend relocating the market to Lees Yard on the edge of St George’s Square, to bring it right to the heart of the town.
The intention is to create a bigger and more regular market, increasing from the current two days a week to four, with modern facilities for shoppers and traders. Drivers would benefit from extra car parking as spaces would be freed up in the market’s current location.
The news comes just weeks after the council agreed investment of £275,000 into repairs at Todmorden Market. This will deal with replacing the roof to include photovoltaic glazing, which would address some of the issues around the building overheating in summer, and generate income to the council.
The completion of this work will make a difference to both to the fabric of the building and the market environment.
During the consultation of Hebden Bridge Market, which is being led by Hebden Bridge Markets Working Group, people will be able to have their say on the design of the new stalls and the layout for the new market. There will be a temporary stall in St George’s Square where people can get more information, and discussions will be taking place with local businesses and residents.
Coun Barry Collins (Lab), Calderdale Council’s deputy leader and chair of the council’s Markets Working Group, said: “People in Hebden Bridge have waited long enough for this project.
“If these proposals win local support the next step will be to work out the precise costings and then seek council approval for the necessary funding, with a view to starting work as soon as possible.
“We know how important markets are to local people and our economy, and continue to invest in them despite facing budget cuts.
“By relocating Hebden Bridge market we would hope to provide an even better shopping experience, attract new visitors and boost local business.
“We urge people to get involved in the consultation to play their part in the plans.”
Calder ward Coun Janet Battye (Lib Dem) adds: “We’ve been working on this for nearly 10 years now as a ‘priority project’ for Hebden Bridge Partnership and I hope that this dream will soon become a reality.”
And ward Coun Dave Young (Lab, Calder), said he believed the move would benefit the town in both business and parking terms.
“I’ve been working on this project for the last 12 months and hopefully it will come to fruition.
“I think it would be an excellent idea for the market to increase from two days to four days a week and it would free up spaces in the Valley Road car park,” he said.
The council pledges that it will listen carefully to all feedback received - from market traders, Hebden Bridge shopkeepers and business people, residents and visitors - and hopes to bring forward an agreed scheme for the relocated market in 2016.
It is also hoped that a design will soon be available to show how the move will work, to start the feedback process as soon as possible.