Mar­ket to shut? Now that’s a (s)tall story...

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By PAUL BRIT­TON paul.brit­[email protected] @PaulBrit­tonMEN

COUN­CIL bosses have hit out at a ‘ma­li­cious’ hoax wrongly claim­ing New Smith­field Mar­ket is poised to close next year.

An investigat­ion is un­der­way af­ter an im­age was cre­ated to ap­pear to be a gen­uine page of Manch­ester coun­cil’s web­site, say­ing the mar­ket was set to shut.

No such page ex­ists, the coun­cil con­firmed and there are no plans to close the pop­u­lar whole­sale mar­ket in Open­shaw.

In fact, a task force to dis­cuss and es­tab­lish ways to help the mar­ket grow was es­tab­lished ear­lier this year, the coun­cil said.

The hoax claimed: “The Mar­kets board have de­cided that as part of a new re­gen­er­a­tion scheme, the for­mer New Smith­field Whole­sale

Mar­ket plot will be utilised to cre­ate an ex­cit­ing, state of the art re­tail hub. A to­tal of 33 re­tail units, in­clud­ing a vast food court and two ma­jor su­per­mar­kets, has been sched­uled for com­ple­tion by Au­gust, 2023.”

It went on to claim a gov­ern­ment grant had also been se­cured to build an Is­lamic com­mu­nity cen­tre, adding: “New Smith­field Whole­sale Mar­ket is to cease op­er­a­tions from 8/3/2020 in or­der to pre­pare for build­ing op­er­a­tions com­menc­ing July 2020.”

The im­age was posted on Face­book and shared. Many linked to the mar­ket have been baf­fled by the mo­ti­va­tion be­hind the post.

New Smith­field Mar­ket, a 35-acre site off Ash­ton Old Road, is the big­gest whole­sale mar­ket in the re­gion.

The orig­i­nal mar­ket op­er­ated out of Manch­ester city cen­tre for 100 years be­fore mov­ing to Open­shaw in the early 1970s. The coun­cil said it had launched an investigat­ion in a bid to de­ter­mine the origin of the ‘ma­li­cious ru­mour.’

In a state­ment on Twit­ter, the coun­cil said: “It’s been brought to our at­ten­tion to­day that a pic­ture on so­cial me­dia has been cir­cu­lat­ing, claim­ing that the New Smith­field Mar­ket, in Open­shaw, will be per­ma­nently closed in early 2020. This is com­pletely un­true.”

It added: “If anyone has any fur­ther con­cerns, or has in­for­ma­tion about where this im­age orig­i­nated from, please con­tact our mar­ket staff by email­ing [email protected]­ester.gov.uk”

Manch­ester Mar­kets mean­while wrote on Face­book: “Fake News.”

JOEL GOOD­MAN

A porter car­ries a net of sprouts at New Smith­field Mar­ket

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