York traders unhappy over planned revamp for market

Newgate Traders in York say they fear a planned refurbishment will not prevent its downward spiral.

The City of York Council’s consultation on Newgate Market’s refurbishment project has aroused concerns among market traders who believe the plan will not secure the future of the market. The consultation which was launched in early February is part of a £1.5million revamp of the market.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, Cabinet member for leisure, Culture and Tourism, said some of the most popular ideas were the widening of the street to enhance pedestrian flow into Newgate, the creation of a food court and pop-up stalls, and dual shop fronts in the Shambles.

However, during a meeting on Monday evening, traders agreed that they haven’t been properly consulted on the issue and they fear that the Council has already made up its mind on the final project.

Paul Anderson, member of Newgate’s traders committee, said: “I don’t feel confident anyone knows what’s going on.They look like they are listening but they are not.”

Rupert Harrison, who has worked on the market for nineteen years, is concerned that the redesign of the market, which currently holds 85 stalls, will force some traders to relocate and could be deadly for their businesses.

Other concerns focus on the £80,000 investment money which will have to be paid back by the traders over ten years through an increase in rent.

Although the idea of extra food kiosks along silver street is welcomed by the traders as a means to create a busier entrance to the market, they argue that this is not a viable solution for the difficult off-season winter months.

Mr. Rupert said: “No maintenance money has been spent for years and the market is now run down by the lack of a strong management and the novelty fairs which take place regularly on Parliament Square.”

Traders demand more lighting, better cleaning and a big push in advertisement to give Newgate market the fresh start it needs.

Mr. Anderson said: “We don’t want to change that much but we want to improve what’s there.”

Rupert Harrison said :“The council wants to turn York into a festival city from which the market will be a part. Yet, York is losing its market.”

The traders will meet with the City of York Council on Wednesday 19th, March in an open meeting and hope to obtain more details about the market’s redevelopment plan.

Published in The Press on Wednesday, march 19, 2014 page 2 and online here.

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