Traders to move into steel containers as Huddersfield markets get set to merge

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Stallholders who have remained trading in Huddersfield’s Queensgate Market are to be moved out – and some could end up selling their wares from metal containers on the streets of the town for at least three years.

Others traders could take over vacant shops.

Council bosses say the move, estimated to cost around £1.6m, is part of their plan to merge Huddersfield’s two markets on one site, which itself is a component of the so-called Huddersfield Blueprint.

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The authority says maintaining the market offer is preferable to a temporary closure.

Traders are expected to be relocated in August this year, with the market cleared by the 31st of that month. The scheme will go to the decision-making Cabinet next week (Jan 18) to be rubber-stamped.

Only 32 traders remain in the Queensgate Market following a period of “rationalisation”.

Some have chosen to leave permanently rather than agree to the council’s plan to merge Queensgate Market and Huddersfield New Market within what is called the Northumberland Street Regeneration Project.

A report to Cabinet said: “The intention is to minimise the reliance on the use of containers by using any vacant shops that are in close proximity to where the containers are located.

“The containers will be adapted to be suitable for use by the variety of market traders. The location of where these cabins would be placed is to be agreed.

“By careful planning of the street units and the vacant shops, it is hoped that the synergies created by the existing provision can be maintained and the whole development can operate as a single offer without leaving some stall holders disadvantaged, which will helps to build the offer and be ready to move to its ultimate location.”

The plan to use containers mirrors a decision taken last September to “decant” traders in Dewsbury whilst the town’s market undergoes a £15.5m revamp.

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The council agreed to spend £800,000 on 53 steel containers, which will be made to “visually look attractive” and will be “individually tailored” to meet each trader’s requirements.

Wakefield-based arts organisation Beam has been tasked with attracting an artist collective to decorate 19 of the 6m-long by 2.5m-high containers using paint or vinyl to make them durable and weatherproof.

It received a budget of £27,000 for the design work, which “will visually signal a positive message of transformation and change”.

The £250m Huddersfield Blueprint aims to re-imagine the town centre. It involves bulldozing the 1970s piazza to create a “cultural heart” that will include a new museum, art gallery and library as well as an “urban park”.

The Grade II-listed market hall, which opened in 1970, could become a “sound space”.

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