Traders are set to be moved out of Queensgate Market and housed in converted shipping containers and empty shops in a £1.6 million move proposed by Kirklees Council.
The Queensgate Market building is earmarked as the new venue for Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery as part of the £210 million Cultural Heart regeneration.
The council wants to relocate traders in August this year so work can begin.
Long-term, the plan is to merge the indoor and outdoor markets and create a new Huddersfield Market, based around food and events, on the current outdoor market site.
However, with much disruption expected at that end of town due to the electrification of the railway line and internal modernisation of Huddersfield Railway Station, a temporary move for the Queensgate traders is expected to last at least three years.
A report to the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday January 18 seeks approval to move the Queensgate traders out in August and relocate them in converted shipping containers or empty shops somewhere in the town centre for at least three years.
No location for the temporary market is mentioned in the report but traders have been told it’s likely to be at the Market Place end of a pedestrianised New Street.
READ MORE: What is planned for the Cultural Heart
The council report says: “The proposed Cultural Heart project requires the Queensgate Market building to be vacant by August 31 2022 to enable works to begin.
“The report is to seek Cabinet approval to provide alternative accommodation for the market traders presently located in Queensgate to vacant shops or containers to be located within Huddersfield town centre for an interim period of at least three years.
“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.”
The report says it is important to maintain a “high quality” temporary market to keep providing a reason for people to continue to visit Huddersfield town centre.
“This is especially important given the number of construction projects that are going to be active in the town centre over the coming years,” says the report.
“It is important that the market continues to trade continuously and the traders are located in close proximity to one another.”
The report says there are 32 tenants remaining in Queensgate Market and the cost of creating the temporary market would be £1.6 million.
This includes £375,000 to buy the shipping containers and another £375,000 to adapt and fit them out. Another £200,000 would be spent fitting out the shops.
Mark Smith, chairman of the Queensgate market traders, now the National Market Traders’ Federation Huddersfield branch, said the council had worked closely with traders and kept them informed every step of the way.
He said many traders were excited by the possible move to New Street where the “footfall will be brilliant.”
Mr Smith, 62, who runs Cowling’s fruit and veg and has worked in the market since he was 14, said it was going to be “quite a move” for some traders but the council was working with individuals to ensure the new facilities, be that a container or a shop, suited their needs.
“We have been in limbo since 2019 and we are looking forward to this,” said Mr Smith.