Shoppers showing their support to Upper Calder Valley markets through the pandemic
Shoppers from their home towns and visitors alike have helped markets in two Calder Valley towns to continue to do well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lockdown periods have made life difficult for traders in non-essential goods and services at Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Markets, but the markets have been supported and when fully opened gained in strength with new businesses using stall space to sell their goods.
Markets manager John Walker told members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Markets Working Group that shoppers were supporting the markets and this had grown through the pandemic.
Mr Walker said there were two extra traders taking space in Todmorden Market Hall and Todmorden Market as a whole had seen an increase of about 15 per cent across all five market days.
“But of note is that both Saturday and Sunday were 100 per cent occupied,” he said.
Mr Walker said this popularity brought with it challenges relating to social distancing, signage and barriers but it had worked for far.
“Todmorden seems to be on a bit of an up,” he said.
Turning to Hebden Bridge Market, Mr Walker said trading numbers were very, very consistent and TV news producers featuring Hebden Bridge four times in one week had given shopping in the town extra publicity.
“It brought a lot of people to Hebden Bridge and with that some concern about social distancing, so we had to ship in extra resources and extra signage and barrier systems,” he said.
Mr Walker said the council’s COVID-19 enforcement team on Sunday had said the limits of what could done had almost been reached and the only way to expand the market’s space further would be to move stalls into the road which would require a road closure.
This was ruled out as with Albert Street closed off at the moment, it would not be appropriate for Crown Street as well, said Mr Walker.
Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said it was worth applying for a road closure in case the market needed it even if it was not used.
In general terms Calderdale wanted to avoid what had happened in Nottingham where a market had to close because of shopping crowds without provision for other measures in place, the meeting heard.