Calderdale Council: Concerns for future of Calderdale town's market

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Tenants at Todmorden Market are worried about falling footfall because of roadworks.

A decline in traders at the open market and uncertainty over improvement schemes are also causing concern, Calderdale councillors have been told.

Todmorden has a market hall and neighbouring outdoor market. The outdoor market emerged well from the pandemic, successfully recruiting traders to all its vacant stalls.

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But there had since been some occupancy terminations, Markets Manager John Walker reported to councillors.

Todmorden MarketTodmorden Market
Todmorden Market

Discussions with the market’s tenants’ association revealed some confidence issues, largely attributed to declining footfall as a result of extensive roadworks in the town, declining open market occupancy, and uncertainty regarding external improvement market schemes.

Roadworks impacting the town centre included heritage resurfacing of some roads with setts and installation of new pedestrian crossings as part of the £5m A646/A6033 corridor improvement scheme.

External schemes include Todmorden Town Deal proposals – one of a number sharing in £17.5m worth of funding for the town – to create a public space incorporating more flexible-use outdoor market stalls.

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Traders last year reported they were worried about loss of parking spaces in the main Bramsche Square which are likely to result.

There is good news in that the markets service has issued applications for each of the vacant market hall units which may return it to full occupancy, said Mr Walker in his annual review.

Coun Silvia Dacre (Lab, Todmorden), who is also a council representative on the Town Deal board, said the issue of uncertainty was being raised at its next meeting.

“We will have the information that is in these papers to help us discuss that and see how we can try and do better in terms of reassuring traders,” she said.

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Mr Walker said he would attend the meeting if requested and Coun Dacre said she would pass on that offer to the board’s chair.

At the outdoor market, the roadworks have been a factor in reduced occupancy.

With major improvement work likely, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Markets Working Party heard traders will be consulted as part of the process.

While major works are carried out – Halifax and Brighouse markets also subject to these – managing situations well will be crucial, say council officers.