Huddersfield market traders want to surrender leases rather than move to new site

Market traders in Huddersfield want to surrender their existing lease arrangements with Kirklees Council rather than move across town to a new site.

It means plans for a relocated market, combining the existing Queensgate and Open Market at Brook Street, are now uncertain as it “would not be viable from a trader, regeneration or financial perspective”.

By not providing a temporary market, the council will save £750,000 on set-up costs as well as £200,000 a year on management and services.

The news, in a report to next Tuesday’s council’s decision-making Cabinet, comes just 11 days after the Local Democracy Reporting Service revealed that some long established traders were getting ready to quit rather than be forced out as part of plans for the £210m “cultural heart” that will re-imagine the town centre.

Market traders in Huddersfield want to surrender their existing lease arrangements with Kirklees Council rather than move across town to a new site. Queensgate Market Entrance, Huddersfield.

Stallholders with Queensgate Market Traders Association have been in talks with the council over the future for months. Currently 32 traders within the market occupy their shops/stalls under 37 lease agreements due to some traders operating multiple businesses.

Of those 37 leaseholders 17 prefer to take compensation, surrender their lease and cease trading.

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A further 14 are to take compensation, surrender their lease and use the funds to relocate into a vacant shop. Just six are looking to be relocated by the council under the terms of their lease.

As a result the report to Cabinet says: “These findings confirm that should the council agree to the Queensgate Market Traders Association’s proposal, a dedicated relocated market … would not be viable from a trader, regeneration or financial perspective. In order to create a successful dedicated market, the support of a larger number of traders with a larger variety of uses would be required.”

Following consultation with traders, officers say “it is clear that support is not at the required level to make a dedicated relocated market a success.” They have recommended that Cabinet agree with the traders’ proposal.

Current traders occupy by way of a lease. Break notices will need to be served on all leaseholders in order to bring these leases to an end by February 2023 in line with the proposed Cultural Heart timescales.

Where traders accept the offer of compensation, an agreement to surrender will need to be entered into which will remove the obligation on the council to provide a relocation option.

Where a trader moves to a council-owned vacant shop or a council-owned relocation option, new leases will be required.

Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service