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Market Locations - The Options

From Jason Elliott

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

There have been all sorts of reports about the relocation of the main Hebden Bridge markets to a permanent site within Lees Yard in the last few months, but I have an alternative proposal that I would like considered and debated.

For a while, there was some pressure within Calderdale MBC, rightly resisted by Cllr Janet Battye in my opinion, to relocate to the car park on Bridge Gate. Although that would bring more people into Bridge Gate and those businesses in the surrounding area would get more footfall, they would almost certainly object to it (as they did to the pedestrianisation of the street) because it would remove the parking there.

So why not have the market in Lees Yard?

In my view it is too small, too closed in, it's taking up parking spaces, has too many problems with access and egress for the traders at the beginning and end of the day and, most importantly to me, it is tucked out of the way and hardly visible as it is below road level or hidden behind buildings for the most part.

What's wrong with keeping it where it is then, in Valley Road?

The arguments against this centre on the twin factors of, again, the removal of parking places, and the fact that it is so far into the "innards" of the town that it has very limited opportunities to catch passing trade.

So what about using Bridge Gate itself?

As many readers of this forum will know, we recently put a market on there for 2 days as part of our inaugural Food and Drink Festival. This seems to have been very well received on the whole by the residents of the town according to the comments I, and my co-organiser Amy Leader, have had, and I think that this would be fine for "special occasions" but not as a permanent venue as the street is quite narrow and some traders can be oblivious to the need of the shops in the area to have light and access.

Still, it seems to have been successful enough for Calderdale Markets to have scheduled in another couple of markets before Christmas. However, I don't believe it is a sustainable proposition for a permanent venue.

In my opinion, for the market to have a permanent home there have to be three main considerations: the impact on parking, the visibility of the site, and the impact on shops and other fixed businesses.

So, this is my proposal: move the market to the Marina area opposite Moyles, and this is why...

This land is owned by Calderdale so it would be relatively easy for it to obtained by the Markets team.

It is highly visible to anyone passing through the Hebden Bridge and would help consolidate our image as a vibrant, bustling Market Town full of bargains and Independent Traders.

It is not used as anything really at the moment and actually some people keep away from it as the geese scare them.

It isn't a car park so the available parking spaces in the town on market days would actually INCREASE. (That's something you don't hear very often!)

There are twin pedestrian crossing places, opposite the Picture House and on the corner of Albert Street, so the site could be easily and safely accessed.

People visiting by car would have to park in the town "proper" meaning that shops and other businesses nearby would benefit.

Allegedly, there was a substantial six-figure-sum earmarked for the installation of fixed stalls in Lees Yard (although I expect the correct figure to be speedily pointed out to me) so a small proportion of that could be used to put a smoother, more wheelchair and buggy friendly surface in than the current cobbles. It could also be used to put a discreet fence along the side of the canal to keep people, hopefully, from falling into the canal, (although as a fan of Darwin, I would suggest that counted as natural selection!)

The site also has proven history as a market venue. I used it for the Big Green Market in 2008 and it was very, very busy!

So, good people of Hebden, whaddayareckon?

From Dave H

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

I have been saying for years that the Marina was the natural choice for the location of the market. So have many others. It is highly visible to passing traffic, and would attract incremental trade as a result (unlike any of the other proposed locations), and it doesn't remove one single parking space from a town that is already commercially constricted by limited parking.

The location is pretty, representative of the area it its heritage, easy to reach, under used and would make the perfect market place.

From Paul D

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Wouldn't we need to kill those peevish geese that nest on the marina first?