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Halifax Borough Market changes: what do you think?

Halifax Borough Market shopping
Halifax Borough Market shopping

Shoppers and traders at Halifax Borough Market gave a mixed response to the plans proposed for the market.

Plans to improve trade at historic Halifax Borough Market have been proposed in a council partnership with a charity that promotes independent business.

Good Company Charity, run by Calderdale man Chris Sands, is working to improve trade and attractions within the market which dates from the 1890s.

The group is hoping to promote the market's history and character, as well as making use of the Street in the Sky properties above the market hall.

The project also aims to boost the number and variety of stalls and businesses in the Victorian building.

Mr Sands was involved in last year's very successful reopening of the neighbouring Piece Hall, and said he had high hopes for the market.

"We have studied and worked alongside many of the best-performing markets in the UK (and even abroad) to create a plan for the Halifax Borough Market.

"Because, for us to get investment, we have to prove to those funders that the market is viable and has a future in Halifax."

But traders and customers had mixed opinions about the vision for the future.

Stall holder Sheridan Clegg has owned a beauty bar in the market for over a decade. She is also the President of the market's Trades Association.

She said, "We need to attract the younger age range.

"His [Chris Sands] ideas are fabulous but I haven't seen them bring anyone in yet."

Opposite Sheridan's beauty bar is an empty two-storey stall, which she believes could work as a customer service centre and showcase photographs of the market in the Victorian era.

Les Hobson, book shop owner,said that the market bosses had a tendency to prioritise rent income over creating variety across the stalls.

Mr Hobson added: "It doesn't take much to take someone else out of the equation"

Shopper Graham Durrance returned to the market with his partner who lives in Australia. He said he loved the nostalgic feel.

"I normally come in here and get some meat and bread."

Ex-butcher Graham Timewell now visits the market as a customer. He told the Courier that a sweet stall used to require several members of staff to tend to all the customers.

He said when he worked on the market, store rent was around £70 per week and that had now increased.

Mr Timewell added there was a lack of variety in the market in his opinion.

"How many card shops do you want?"

Michael and Steve Durkin, owners of M & S Durkin Butchers said, "You don't need ten cafes, you need variety".

Coun Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said improvements have been made to Calderdale's markets.

“If you haven’t been to your local market for a while, why not pop along and see what it has to offer."

The Council allocated £100k to fund a study into Halifax's shopping needs and consulted the public on how they'd like to see the market improve.