HEMSWORTH Town Council has pledged to turn the town’s market into a busy and bustling trading site as it officially took over running the service from Wakefield Council.
Town council chairman, Coun Tony Upson, was handed the market on Tuesday by representatives from the council, including Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for culture, sport and libraries.
Coun Upson said he was determined to make the market - which has seen periods of financial loss in recent months - as successful as South Elmsall’s bustling site, with hopes of making a profit.
He said: “I feel really positive about this new venture and believe it has the potential to be a success.
“There has been a market in Hemsworth for as long as I can remember and it was always busy, and I want it like that again.”
Wakefield Council decided to offload the market in June this year as part of budget cuts. The market would have been forced to close if the town council or another organisation had not taken over its running.
Townsfolk and traders fought for it to be saved, with a petition with 576 signatories handed into Wakefield Council.
And Hemsworth Town Council said it will try to build on this support, running a new Saturday market selling second hand and new goods starting on November 5. This is in addition to the existing Tuesday and Friday market days.
Councillors will also visit other markets to entice more traders and the council is even offering a reduction in rates to get the market back on its feet.
Coun Upson said: “There hasn’t been a weekend market for years and we think this is a great way to get more people out and about in Hemsworth. As an incentive, the stalls will only be £5 for the re-launch day.”
Taking over the running of the market will cost the town council around £21,000 a year plus a peppercorn rent to the district council. The market will remain at its current location.
He said: “We have a lot of plans to get more traders and business into the area but it is now up to the people to support us.
“The town council has shown good faith but needs the shoppers to encourage the traders and the traders to encourage the shoppers.”
Coun Dagger said: “This is a great moment for the council because we are looking at running things a little differently and this is the part of that adjustment.
“It is great the town council has decided to run the market. I am proud to be here to see this change happen.”
Discussions are still ongoing between Wakefield Council and South Elmsall Town Council regarding the takeover of its market.