After reading the piece written in the Courier about the closure of the markets on the 14 January, I felt I had to make a comment.
As a former shopkeeper I feel qualified to make a comment about the Piece Hall and the markets.
I am glad that the council has closed the markets, ever since the council closed the markets down and then under protest from the public were forced to spend thousand of pounds buying new stalls and re opening the market, it has been a failure.
There has never been more than 10 stalls open on the markets in the last two years, on many occasions there have been less than five. Far from making the Piece Hall more vibrant the markets were an embarrassment.
I agree the Piece Hall is a fantastic building from an architectural point of view, however as a place of business it is not viable and has not been for many years, despite the advertised 40 shops which is on the board outside, I doubt there are more than 25 shops in the Piece Hall any more and haven't been for a long while. Even Mr Hoyle of Friendly Dragon who has a shop there has said and I quote, "we enjoy being here for other reasons than financial". If even the few shopkeepers left in the Piece Hall aren't there to make money, what are they there for?
The council should take the hard but only proper decision possible.
Shut the Piece Hall down completely get the grant from English heritage, restore the building, as it deserves and find a decent use for the building, not just leave 10 or 20 shops to hang on in there doing nothing for the building other than letting it fall down around their ears.
formerly owner and
manager of the Silver Shop 69 the Piece Hall