The increasingly derelict Bradford and Bingley building casts a looming shadow over the last remaining stall on the town’s Wednesday market.
When Nick Walker started trading at Bingley Market more than 25 years ago, 30 traders would jostle for space and custom. It moved to its current location next to the Bradford and Bingley office in March 2008, and the move was a success.
But Mr Walker is now a lonely figure and blames a combination of the lack of footfall and a decision by Bradford Council to stop putting up stalls for traders, for turning stall holders away.
He said: “When I started at Bingley market, it was popular, especially after we moved over from the old site. The site was full.
“I still have regular customers but the lack of footfall has had a big effect, At one point there were over 1,000 people working at Bradford and Bingley, and we used to get a lot of them shopping at the market. That customer base has gone. People won’t come to a market with one stall.”
The concrete tiered Bradford and Bingley building opened on Main Street in 1975. The bank announced plans to move its 400 staff to its Crossflatts site in 2009.
The town’s Chamber of Trade President Howard Martin said the impact had been incredibly damaging.
He said: “Like everywhere Bingley suffered the impact of the recession with shops closing and people being made redundant - but the double whammy was the closure of Bradford and Bingley, and the loss of hundreds of people every day who would be spending money in local shops and the market.
“The Wednesday market has really all but gone. The market is the one thing that has suffered the most from the closure of Bradford and Bingley. We need to get it back on its feet.”
Sainsbury’s purchased the Bradford and Bingley site in July 2010, intending to build a 40,000sq ft superstore. But after years of delays, it announced in November that it was selling off the site and opening a smaller connivance store instead.
Demolition was due to start in January, but hibernating bats put a halt to work.
The town’s Conservative MP Philip Davies said: “The closure of the building has left a massive hole in the Bingley economy which is why we were so delighted when Sainsbury’s bought it.
“Anything would be better than what we have an the minute - an increasingly derelict building right in the centre of the town.”