Why markets are proving to be a money spinner for Calderdale Council

Hebden Bridge market
Hebden Bridge market

Markets are proving to be a money-spinner for Calderdale Council, making £260,000.

Councillors said figures showed they were successful and the council’s Cabinet Markets Working Group heard that message should be getting out.

Coun Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) expressed frustration that a basic look at the publicly available figures had the council’s markets service down as overspending its budget.

But the reality was the service was making money but accounting practices meant an overspend of £179,000 was shown on the departmental figures because markets had been estimated to make more, a £439,000 surplus.

Coun Carter said in fact markets had long been a cash cow for the council and more realistic target figures for profitability would be a sensible move.

“In the midst of everything going on yet again our markets have delivered us a fantastic income of £260,000,” she said.

A lot of businesses would snap your hand off for that return, she said.

She found support from other working group members.

Coun Steve Sweeney (Lab, Todmorden) said: “We should be saying just that. At the end of the year the market’s more successful than it was last year.”

And Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said it was a surplus that showed a very healthy trading performance and showed the council was committed to all its markets, which include Halifax Borough Market, Todmorden Market Hall and outdoor market, and those at Hebden Bridge, Brighouse, Elland and Sowerby Bridge.

Much of the meeting discussed progress and proposals for each market in Calderdale, including major schemes including the ongoing major refurbishment of the borough market in Halifax itself and the relocation of Elland market to its original site to give it a better trading position and space for more stalls.

Earlier in the meeting Calderdale continually tried to be innovative to improve services.

Markets Manager John Walker, reporting on lettings, said Calderdale’s markets had performed excessively well in the past 20 years, holding Calderdale’s heads above water when many up and down the country had struggled.

Meeting modern needs would be crucial to ongoing success.

“The retail environment is changing and we have to change with it,” he said.