BRADFORD’S Kirkgate Market will shut once the new market on Darley Street opens, it has been revealed.
The original plans for Bradford Council’s £21 million market re-vamp was for Oastler Market to close once the new market opens, and for the Kirkgate Market, located in the Kirkgate Shopping Centre, to undergo a major refurbishment.
The Darley Street Market would be the city’s main food market, while Kirkgate Market would specialise in non-food goods.
But this week, mentioned at the bottom of a press release about the various regeneration projects happening in the city centre, Bradford Council announced that the Kirkgate Market refurbishment will not now go ahead. Kirkgate and Oastler Markets would shut after the new market opens in 2022.
The market closure is not expected to impact on the running of Kirkgate Shopping Centre.
Work on Darley Street market site begins
The Council says the changes were made after a public consultation on the markets plan found that people were more in favour of a mixed market than separate food and non food markets.
The former Marks & Spencer building on Darley Street will be demolished to make way for the new market, and work has already started.
Traders from the existing two markets will be invited to apply to trade at the new market.
Last year the Council announced that they hoped the Kirkgate refurbishment would likely be completed in 2020. After almost a year of no updates on the Kirkgate plan, the Telegraph & Argus had made a Freedom of Information request for information about the refurbishment last month, and received a response this week.
It said: “The Council has announced to its traders in Kirkgate Market and the Oastler Centre that it will not be carrying out the proposed refurbishment of Kirkgate Market as the new market in Darley Street will now accommodate non-food sales on one trading floor with the other trading floor being dedicated to fresh foods and the 1st floor for hot food and beverage sales.
"Following recent customer research on our market plans, engaging with around 1,200 people, we identified a strong support for a composite market where customers expressed a desire to see a mixed offer as they felt that the appeal of a market is where you can discover unusual or specialist items whilst also shopping for your daily fresh foods or enjoying a meal or light snack.
"The vast majority of traders at both markets also support this view and see the new composite market, along with its market square, as the right decision for ensuring the future viability of the markets offer in Bradford city centre.”
The Kirkgate Centre was built on the site of the old Kirkgate Market, and opened in 1976. A new market was created on the centre’s first floor, and is currently home to a number of different businesses, ranging from cafes to clothing stalls, sweet shops, nail bars and hairdressers.
Market traders we spoke to yesterday had mixed views on the news that the market would be shutting.
Hardy’s Jewellers has been in the market for 33 years. Yvette Hardy said: “We’re not really very happy about it closing, it isn’t brilliant for us. We can’t afford the re-location, we’ve put a lot of money into this stall and it would cost us too much to relocate. We’re one of the longest running businesses here. A lot of traders feel like us, they won’t be able to sell their business.”
Katherine Sutcliffe runs The Joke Shop - one of the largest businesses in the market. She has been at Kirkgate for 30 years and although she has some concerns, she believes something needed to change. She said: “They needed to do something. There is no air conditioning, they needed a massive investment or to move the market.”
She said the plans for the new market looked “fantastic” and added: “We’ll definitely be looking to move there.”
She said since the opening of Broadway her takings had been down by around 22 per cent, and hopes the new market will increase footfall. She added: “We just don’t have the same footfall anymore. A lot of stalls are struggling. Something needed to happen, we couldn’t just carry on as things are now. We will be able to move, but a lot of businesses like the cafes in here won’t be able to move everything to a new location. We’re quite positive it will be successful. We’d be paying more rent than we are paying here, but if it means we get footfall back then that will give us a boost.”