Anger at Jubilee market closure
Traders are angry at a decision by council bosses to close South Elmsall market during the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday.
The stall and shop keepers on the Barnsley Road market have been ordered by Wakefield Council to close shop on Tuesday, June 5.
The decision has shocked the traders who were able to trade on Good Friday and during the Royal Wedding celebrations.
Sweet shop owner Trisha Wilson said: “I’ve worked on this market for 22 years and we’ve never had to close for events like this
“We’re all willing to work on a day that we could get a lot of trade with people being off work and having street parties. Trade is bad enough in this current climate and being self-employed we are losing a day of income.”
The decision comes amid long discussions with the council to hand the market over to the Town Centre Partnership (TCP) and South Elmsall Town Council.
It also follows an announcement by the market’s Cards for All that the shop is being closed down.
Owner Kate South said that delays in the decision had caused people to believe that the market was closed and a decline in trade had meant she was unable to meet the high rent prices.
Doreen Gray, chair of the TCP, said: “Unless something is done I don’t think this will be the last closure, it’ll be like a falling pack of cards.
“If the market goes then South Elmsall may as well turn all its lights off because I think the high street would fail too - it would kill the town.”
Wakefield Council said that talks were still ongoing to discuss the potential handover of the market and that a lack of staff had forced them to close on the bank holiday - despite claims by traders that council officials did not work at the market any more.
Ben Cook, Wakefield Council’s service manager for markets and tourism, said: “The opening of markets is based on the availability of staffing and unfortunately we do not have enough staff available to open and operate the market safely on this date.
“In the past we have been able to open the market on some bank holidays but this was based on sufficient staffing being available.
“There is always at least one member of council staff on site throughout market days.
“This member of staff will be supported by additional colleagues at other facilities, to ensure health and safety and that we are able to respond accordingly if an incident takes place.
“On this occasion sufficient staffing is not available.”
More than 100 signatures have been collected on a petition in objection to the Jubilee closure of the market.
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Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 12 C
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