Queensgate Market could shut down as early as October, a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet was told.

The council planned to close the market and move traders into a temporary market in converted shipping containers on the streets.

However, a majority of traders told the council they would rather quit and take compensation instead.

On Tuesday the council’s Cabinet supported the traders’ proposals and agreed to scrap plans for a temporary market, though some traders will relocate elsewhere.

The council said setting up the temporary market would cost £750,000 and another £200,000 a year to run it.

Speaking at the meeting, Clr Eric Firth, Cabinet member for town centres, hailed the market traders’ proposal a “good deal” for both sides. It was particularly beneficial to the council as it meant it didn’t have to create a costly temporary market.

“It’s a good deal for the market traders but it’s an even better deal for us because we do not have to form another market,” he said.

“We were going to put them (the traders) in steel containers in the centre of town. We would have had to put utilities in – electricity, water, drainage – which would have cost an absolute fortune.

“The traders have decided it’s not for the majority of them. Some do want to continue trading in Northumberland Street or shops they can find or we can find for them.”

Clr Eric Firth with artist Charlotte who has transformed shipping containers for Dewsbury Market

The council is moving the market out to turn the main part of the building into a food hall. The east wing will become part of a new library, which will also have an extension.

The redevelopment is part of the £210 million Cultural Heart project which will transform the area in and around the Piazza Centre, which is to be demolished.

The council had planned to have the market closed by February 2023 but Clr Firth told the meeting the traders wanted out much sooner than that.

“The traders want to leave the market in October,” he said. “And that in turn will let us get into Queensgate months earlier than we originally planned and hopefully start some work on the masterplan.”

The council has long-term plans to create a combined new market on the site of the current outdoor market in Northumberland Street but that could be three or four years away at least.

Liberal Democrat leader Clr John Lawson (Cleckheaton) asked Clr Firth if this was now the end of markets in Huddersfield.

Clr Firth replied: “Are markets finished? Far from it.” Clr Firth said the council was ready to submit a bid for a new combined market under the Government’s Levelling Up scheme, which was about to open for applications.

“We have complete faith in markets and want to invest in Huddersfield markets,” he added.

Clr Lawson said markets were vital as a launch pad for businesses to grow and asked if there was a Plan B in case a funding bid failed.

Clr Firth said if that happened “we will have to find the money from elsewhere.”

After the meeting the council said negotiations were underway with individual Queensgate Market leaseholders who could make a final decision when they had an offer.

A model of the proposed Cultural Heart with the Queensgate Market building in the centre