Bradford Council officers have baulked at a bold plan by three Bingley businessmen to take control of the town’s market.
Richard Holmes, who manages the 5Rise shopping centre, design firm boss Richard Tempest and market trader Dean McNally had proposed running the setting-up of stalls and collecting of rents themselves as a means of securing the market’s future and saving the Council some £40,000 a year in costs.
But Mr McNally said an e-mail sent to the consortium from the Council showed it was keen to keep control.
“It says ‘Any relinquishing of the market operation would require a Council decision and would have to go out to tender rather than just handing the operation of the market to just one group’,” Mr McNally said, quoting from the e-mail received last week.
“Basically they don’t want to give up control and are hiding behind their rules and red tape.
“The problem is that things need to be sorted out now. There’s no time to mess about. We know Bingley and the market better than anyone, yet we are being turned down.”
Mr McNally said one positive note was that the Council was still keen to talk about the issue with the three men.
It is happy for them to strike a separate deal with other traders, but solely to take over the setting-up and dismantling of the stalls.
“Of course we will continue to talk to them about that whenever they want,” Mr McNally said.
He is also pressing for more stalls to be encouraged to open in Bingley, regardless of what is already for sale.
“I just think the more stalls of all kinds we have the better. We have two flower stalls already, for example,” he said. “I wouldn’t be worried about any direct competition and would welcome anything that makes it more lively and interesting for shoppers.”
Howard Martin, chairman of Bingley Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said the Council should sharpen up in these tough economic times and act swiftly to take up the consortium’s offer.
“It’s an ever-changing world and in the commercial world you have to be able to make changes quickly. The frustrating thing is that Bradford Council doesn’t work in that environment,” Mr Martin said.
“Any change seems to take forever, by which time the situation has inevitably moved on and so it always seems to be trying to catch up. We just are all keen to get Bingley market bustling again.”
Colin Wolstenholme, Bradford Council’s markets manager, said: “We are pleased to hear from the T&A that local businesspeople are interested in providing the service of erecting the stalls and taking them down again.
“We’ve asked them if they can provide us with further details and we’re waiting to hear back from them.”
Regular market shoppers Fraser and Rena Blagg said they were big fans of quality food available from different stalls.
“We come every week for cheese, bread, fish and anything else we fancy,” Mrs Blagg, said.
“The only thing the market needs is a few more stalls to increase the variety.” Mr Blagg added.