Kirklees Council has approved a proposal from traders at Queensgate Market, at today’s Cabinet meeting.

The proposal, presented to council officers by Queensgate traders, stated they would like the opportunity to surrender their existing lease agreements, on an agreed date, in return for compensation.

Following presentation of the proposal, council officers met with traders individually to discuss their personal circumstances and preferences to establish the impact this would have on the relocated temporary market project, approved earlier this year by Cabinet.

The relocated market project report, approved in January and supported by the majority of traders, was on the basis that the council would create and run a relocated temporary market using vacant shops or containers within Huddersfield town centre. Traders would remain in the temporary market until regeneration work was finished on the new indoor market site.

The agreement of the compensation proposal from Queensgate Market Traders Association, means a dedicated relocated temporary market will not be required or viable from a trader, regeneration or financial perspective. Accepting the traders’ proposal also means expenditure of £750k for setting up the interim market, and £200k per year to manage it and provide services to traders would not be required.

The proposal also includes an option for those traders who do not wish to take compensation, to have full support from the council to help them relocate their business into empty shops.

The current site of Queensgate Market has been identified as part the proposed Cultural Heart project which requires the building to be vacated by February 2023 to enable works to commence.

The Cultural Heart is Kirklees Council’s bold and ambitious plan to put culture and families at the forefront of Huddersfield town centre’s future. It will deliver a landmark new public park, alongside community attractions including a live entertainment venue, library, museum, gallery and food hall. Through these plans, the council aims to make the town centre a busier and more vibrant destination with more footfall for local businesses.

Councillor Eric Firth, Cabinet Member for Town Centres, said;

“We are listening to traders and working closely with them, keen to ensure the best deal possible.

“For a successful and dedicated interim market to be created, the support of a large number of traders with a variety of offers would be required and initial talks suggest we wouldn’t have enough traders to do that.

“We want to reassure residents though, that agreement of the proposal, doesn’t mean the end of an indoor market offer in Huddersfield. The council is working up plans and submitting a LUF (Levelling up Funding) round 2 bid for The Northumberland Street Regeneration Project, which would create an improved indoor and outdoor market offer, on the existing outdoor market site near to St Georges Square.”

Mark Smith, Chair of the Queensgate Market Traders Association, said:

“Following the decision made earlier this year, many of the traders at Queensgate Market have been reviewing their own personal positions and the future viability of their businesses within a relocated market offer.

“Many things have been taken into consideration by traders including the revised timescales for the new Huddersfield Market and Cultural Heart project, the current economic climate and cost of living crisis, all of which have come off the back of a challenging few years with the pandemic.

“Traders are fully supportive of the plans within Huddersfield town centre and have been working closely with council officers to determine the best outcome for the majority affected.”

Officers will continue to work with the Queensgate Market Traders Association in order to finalise the details of the proposal. This will then be presented to individual leaseholders for them to make a final decision.