How unusual opening hours and special events can boost Calerdale markets

Todmorden market
Todmorden market

Opening on some evenings or other alternative hours and special events can boost stall occupancy on Calderdale’s markets, councillors heard.

Friday evening events trialled at Todmorden Market, which had stayed open to 7pm on those days, saw stall occupancy rise from 40 per cent to between 80 and 90 per cent, Markets Manager John Walker told Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Markets Working Party.

Earlier Mr Walker had spoken of the need to be imaginative and resourceful to ensure the markets offered the experience 21st century shoppers were looking for.

In addition to Halifax Borough Market, Calderdale has markets in Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Elland and Brighouse, with the latter recently taken into council control after years being run privately.

At Todmorden, success of the Friday events could be a blueprint for other markets throughout Calderdale, having attracted a wide range of traders.

As well as attracting more stallholders to the outside market, Market Hall traders had also worked to make the events a success and in some cases had stayed the longest to meet customers’ needs.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) said: “Todmorden on a Friday night, there is a tourism element as well because it is somewhere to go at tea-time.”

Members spoke about tourism promotion and agreed to review the summer figures following the implementation of “Foodie Fryday” events at Todmorden.

They heard a lot of essential health and safety work had been undertaken at Brighouse where traders were engaging positively with the council and Brighouse Town Board had been involved in discussions about its future.

Coun Howard Blagbrough (Con, Brighouse) said that, although there were challenges, “I see no reason why it shouldn’t be successful in the future.”

Progress on relocating Elland Market back to its original site had seen another three traders take stalls and space for another four created following some challenging times.

At Sowerby Bridge, members felt creative thinking and alternative funding options should be sought.

Hebden Bridge market, recently relocated, was running well with 90 per cent occupancy on most market days and when special events ranging from Steampunk weekends to Happy Valley Pride were being held.