Bradford’s indoor markets are a fantastic asset to the city, offering a great range of produce at value-for-money prices, and they should be cherished by all who value character in a city.

They have been praised in Parliament, celebrity chefs use them for ingredients, and they offer a great alternative to traipsing around the supermarket.

But the Oastler Centre and Kirkgate Market are undoubtedly underused and neglected, despite the unique qualities of both, and more must be done to get people to find them and use them.

In a bid to do that, and to respond to the new challenges facing the city centre, Bradford Council have come up with plans that would see the two sites merging, either in one of the existing locations or at a brand new site.

Last year, it opened up a consultation on the plans, and at the time we urged traders to ensure their voices were heard in this process.

They have done just that, and inevitably, both sets are strongly opposed to moving to the other market, with the vast majority saying they want to stay in their current site.

That poses a very difficult challenge for the Council if it continues to proceed down the merger route.

There is no doubt that something needs to be done to encourage more people to make use of the markets, but the last thing anyone wants to see is the unique character they offer being lost.

The Council needs to find a way of protecting their heartbeat and spirit while responding pragmatically to the changing retail needs of the city.