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Bradford markets could merge to ensure they survive
Regeneration bosses at Bradford Council believe the city will be unlikely to sustain two separate indoor markets once the Broadway shopping centre development is open.
As a result, the Oastler Shopping Centre and Kirkgate Market would become one – at a undecided location.
Options include using either market site or a new central location between the Westfield development and the Kirkgate Centre. This latter option would enable a combined market to take advantage of changing shopping habits caused by the shopping centre which is likely to concentrate people in the city’s core shopping area.
Council markets manager Colin Wolstenholme has outlined the three possibilities for a combined market:
- Oastler Centre site: the centre could be enlarged and modernised with the area to the rear as a possible development opportunity. This would allow the Council to create an international market-style venue but would involve the Council vacating the Kirkgate Market lease, which is on a peppercorn rent for 125 years from 1976. Without a tenant break clause this could involve a payment to the landlord.
- Kirkgate Market site: the hall could be enlarged and modernised by creating a mezzanine floor. This would place the markets more centrally within the city centre and minimise the effects of the likely loss in footfall as and when the Westfield scheme starts trading. Although the Council owns the freehold of the Oastler Shopping Centre, this option would require a new user to take on the building, although the external shops would be unaffected.
- Relocation to new site: this would require the construction of a new modern market but would have the advantage of less disruption to the working markets as it could be built on a vacant site or use a vacant building. The location would need to be a central one.
In a report to the authority’s regeneration and economy overview and scrutiny committee, Mr Wolstenholme states: “Whilst it is acknowledged that the retail offer within the Westfield scheme will be different from the markets offer it is important that the markets continue to attract new customers as well as maintaining its existing customer base. It is these new customers that may choose to shop in the Westfield centre rather than choosing to walk through the city centre to the markets area.
“Customer footfall, and ultimately shopping habits, following the construction of the Westfield Shopping Centre may likely change and concentrate in the core shopping areas focusing in the retail areas between the Westfield development and the Kirkgate Centre.”
A detailed report on the issue is expected to be produced in 12 months.