Three Bingley businessmen have thrown a lifeline to the town’s beleaguered market by offering to take it over from Bradford Council – lock, stock and barrel.
Richard Holmes, manager of 5Rise Shopping Centre, market trader Dean McNally and art firm boss Richard Tempest want to take on putting up the stalls, managing the market and collecting the rents – which could save the Council a yearly bill of up to £40,000.
That money was paid to contractors who ran the market and it was announced last month that the Council could no longer afford the bill – sparking fears the stalls might vanish forever.
But now the new consortium says it can do the same job, without costing taxpayers a penny.
“Between us we’ve got the know-how, the manpower and the vehicles to do it cost-effectively,” said Mr McNally, who also has a haulage business.
“We are offering to try to help Bingley and its shoppers and traders. Everyone wants the market to continue and we understand we have until the end of this financial year to sort something out.”
Mr Tempest runs Art Display in Clyde Street, which organises indoor and outdoor exhibitions as well as design and printing.
His business has been in Bingley for 13 years and he said they had decided to approach the Council because of a shared commitment to the town’s future.
“We’d gladly to take over the market tomorrow if the Council said yes,” Mr Tempest said.
“We can quickly form ourselves into a company and are confident we can run all aspects of the market within the profits from the rents. We’ve costed it and we can certainly do it without making a loss. If there were any profit it would just go into promoting the market itself.
“The Council has been approached and we are just waiting for a meeting where we can talk through all the figures with them.
Bingley Chamber of Trade president Howard Martin said he was supportive of the proposed rescue package: “The Chamber helped put the three gentleman in touch and anything is good news if it ensures the market continues,” he said.
Bradford Council was unable to provide a comment about the rescue plan.