Market to shut? Now that’s a (s)tall story...
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.”
A porter carries a net of sprouts at New Smithfield Market