Demise of Queens­gate mar­ket is so de­press­ing

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

Joan Bakewell, TV pre­sen­ter Madoc, ac­tress, Ellen Barkin, ac­tress, Berry, ac­tor, Jimmy Os­mond, singer, Martin Lawrence, ac­tor, Max Beesley, ac­tor

Nick Pickard, ac­tor, Claire Foy, ON a rare visit to Queens­gate mar­ket I was amazed at the num­ber of empty stalls com­pared to my last visit.

There were very few peo­ple in the mar­ket. It was cold, un­ap­peal­ing and the stall hold­ers seemed to be just hang­ing around in the hope of cus­tomers. Most were wrapped up to keep warm. It is clear the mar­ket is dy­ing. Is this be­cause mar­kets have “had their day” as we have be­come con­di­tioned to buy­ing what we need from large stores out of town cen­tres where park­ing is free?

Or should the coun­cil be try­ing to re­ju­ve­nate the mar­ket, even if it is the last throw of the dice?

Talk­ing to a cou­ple of stall­hold­ers they would like to see some re­duc­tion in their rents, be­cause all that seems to hap­pen is rents are in­creased and more stall­hold­ers then go out of busi­ness and then rents are in­creased again and so more stall­hold­ers leave.

Per­haps new busi­nesses could be at­tracted with a bit of imag­i­na­tion by (eg) giv­ing some form of rent con­ces­sions in say the first 12 months and a scheme to have an el­e­ment of free or cheaper park­ing.

What will not help is the dis­play of some of the art work of stu­dents at one end of the mar­ket. In no way will this bring cus­tomers into the mar­ket to spend money.

It would be a great shame if a large town cen­tre re­tail out­let just drifted into obliv­ion and then be­came an eye­sore. MANY farm­ers are cur­rently fac­ing fod­der short­ages and flood­ing – se­ri­ous prob­lems that im­pact on their abil­ity to feed an­i­mals and plant crops.

In some re­gions, per­sis­tent and heavy rains have fol­lowed on swiftly from ex­treme snow­falls – and to make mat­ters worse, the cur­rent weath­er­re­lated prob­lems come whilst many are in the midst of lamb­ing and calv­ing.

The Royal Agri­cul­tural Benev­o­lent In­sti­tu­tion (RABI) has been around since 1860 and is farm­ing’s old­est and largest wel­fare char­ity.

In 2017, we gave out grants of close to £2 mil­lion to peo­ple of all ages in fi­nan­cial need.

We have wel­fare of­fi­cers across Eng­land and Wales who un­der­stand the cur­rent dif­fi­cul­ties.

Our wel­fare of­fi­cer for Northum­ber­land and Durham, for ex­am­ple, re­cently re­ported that many peo­ple in his area had lost sheep in snow drifts and were dread­ing the prospect of lamb­ing.

Num­bers are likely to be down, which will have a knockon ef­fect later in the year when they come to sell their stock.

It’s been a long, wet win­ter and the grass hasn’t started to grow yet.

That means there could be ex­tra feed costs, an ex­pense farm­ers wouldn’t nor­mally ex­pect to have at this time of year.

We know from our wel­fare team on the ground that many in the in­dus­try – from dif­fer­ent sec­tors and in var­i­ous parts of the UK – are anx­ious about the ef­fects of weather-re­lated prob­lems.

Dur­ing a cri­sis, RABI can help those in fi­nan­cial hard­ship by pro­vid­ing grants for im­me­di­ate do­mes­tic and house­hold ex­penses.

While we can­not help specif­i­cally with busi­ness costs, if the harsh win­ter has left you, or some­one you know who works in farm­ing, un­able to pay house­hold bills please call our con­fi­den­tial Freep­hone Helpline num­ber 0808 281 9490.

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