Future of Calderdale street markets and festivals in doubt

Successful street markets and festivals across Calderdale could be under threat due to stalls provided by Calderdale Council being withdrawn from the events for health and safety reasons.

The council’s market service is requesting funding of £33,000 for repairs on its market stalls which are used for high profile events such as the Halifax Food and Drink Festival, the Brighouse Business Initiative street markets and Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing.

The Council currently owns 40 Gazebo type market stalls, the equivalent of 60 stalls which it originally purchased in 2006 from the re-introduction of the Piece hall market.

Mark Thompson, Acting Director for economy and environment at Calderdale Council, said: “The coverings to these stalls are beyond repair. Many are either torn or have several holes which do not prevent water penetration to the trading area and require replacing likewise do all the side and back sheets.

“There are major events planned for April, May and June 2016 in Brighouse, Elland and Halifax that require the investment, similarly these events are repeated several times later in the year along with additional successful events in Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge. They are therefore currently in danger of not being delivered as the markets stock is in such a poor state of repair.

“The negative publicity would be significant as a majority of the equipment is now becoming unsafe and in poor condition, which if left to further deteriorate will lead to the cancellation of regular markets, impacting further on the markets services revenue budget. This would consequently impact negatively upon the local economy in terms of employment, vibrancy of town centres and visitor attraction.

“If the Council does not invest in the near future, it is likely that the level of service will reduce and this may have an adverse affect on the income stream of £1.2m that is currently generated by the service as a whole.