Trust is set up to save the market

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THE future of South Elmsall market looks secure as three councils have joined forces to take it over.

A trust will be formed by South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Council, South Elmsall Town Council and Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council to take over the market from Wakefield Council.

This came after the council decided at a cabinet meeting in June that it would offload non-core markets as part of its budget cuts.

Steve Tulley, leader of South Elmsall Town Council, said he thought the trust was the perfect way to keep the market alive.

He said: “We are hoping to set up the partnership to take on the day to day running of the market.

“We sent a letter of declaration of interest to Wakefield Council and negotiations are still ongoing.

“We expect to hear from them in September.”

He believes the trust can successfully take on the market if they work together and work with stall holders and local tradespeople.

He said: “The market is such an important part of the town and we will do everything we can to keep it going and this is the perfect opportunity to do so.”

Both South Elmsall and Hemsworth markets were deemed to be ‘non-core’ in a council report, because Hemsworth is losing money and has concerns over occupancy rates, and high maintenance costs at South Elmsall.

If town councils or other organisations do not take the markets on, they will be sold.

Developers have already shown interest in the two sites.

A petition of more than 1,000 names to keep South Elmsall market running was collected and presented to the council at a meeting which took place in June between the town council and Wakefield Council.

Shaun Hodson, chairman of Upton and North Elmsall Parish Council, said the trust was an excellent idea.

He said: “The markets are an invaluable part of a community.

“They are a focal point for people to gather and that is such an important aspect of our town, and you can’t put a price on that.

“All three councils feel the same about this and that is why we are forming the trust.

“We will also concentrate on sustaining the market for the future, and trying to encourage stall holders to work on the market.”

Hemsworth Town Council is also looking at running its town’s market.

Tina Pattison, clerk to Hemsworth Town Council said she was waiting for information from Wakefield Council regarding running costs and will prepare a report for councillors to make a decision.

This will be discussed at a special town council meeting, which is set for mid-September.

She said: “I don’t want to see any services in the area go so hopefully it will be looked on favourably.”

Ben Cook, Wakefield Council’s market manager, said: “We are continuing to work very hard to ensure the future delivery of all our markets and are having constructive discussions with town councils and traders at Hemsworth and South Elmsall.”