Council plans to rehouse Dewsbury market traders - in shipping containers

An artist's impression of plans for Dewsbury MarketAn artist's impression of plans for Dewsbury Market
An artist's impression of plans for Dewsbury Market
Traders in Dewsbury are to be moved into metal shipping containers while the town’s market undergoes a £15.5m revamp.

Kirklees Council intends to buy 53 steel containers to temporarily “decant” traders at a cost of £800,000.

But they will be made to “visually look attractive” and will be “individually tailored” to meet each trader’s requirements.

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They will also be adapted to meet “maximum trading exposure” in their identified locations.

An illustration of shipping containers and how they could be adapted to house Dewsbury Market tradersAn illustration of shipping containers and how they could be adapted to house Dewsbury Market traders
An illustration of shipping containers and how they could be adapted to house Dewsbury Market traders

Wakefield-based arts organisation Beam has been tasked with attracting an artist collective to decorate 19 of the 6m-long by 2.5m-high containers using paint or vinyl to make them durable and weatherproof.

It has a budget of £27,000 for the design work, which “will visually signal a positive message of transformation and change”. It is expected to get underway in November and last until February.

Coun Aleks Lukic (Ind, Dewsbury East) said: “It is vital that we properly support our market traders during this redevelopment, and there aren’t many options to relocate such a large market.

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“However I am concerned at the sheer cost of these containers and that they could make the town centre feel like a dockyard.

“For that kind of money surely a proper temporary market hall or cabins could have been built, and we could use all the empty shops we have.”

The council revealed in March this year that traders would be “decanted” in early 2022 so improvement works can be carried out in an effort to rejuvenate the market.

It intends to consolidate the site by cutting the number of stalls from 400 to approximately 200, emphasising food and drink and introducing a food court.

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All of the open market stalls will be cleared and new stalls and layout created.

Traders will be relocated “on street” within the town centre to Foundry Street (between Corporation Street and Market Place), Market Place, the western footpath of Longcauseway (in front of the Prince of Wales precinct) and the forecourt of the town hall.

That could be for as long as 17 months and is expected to cost £2.3m.

As the number and size of traders outweighs the space available on surrounding streets, some traders may be placed in vacant shops.

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The council’s plan involves the clearance of the entire space – the Market Hall, the semi-covered market and the open market – and the “decanting” of stallholders for around 12 months starting in March 2022.

The new market is earmarked to open in the summer of 2023.

The market plan forms part of the so-called Dewsbury Blueprint, which also includes make-overs for the Victorian Arcade, the bus station and the formation of a town park aimed at creating a family-friendly environment.

The council also intends to purchase the four-storey property at 18-20 Corporation Street, plus the adjoining two-storey 17 Foundry Street, as part of the Blueprint project.

It wants to create a lift and staircase within 18-20 Corporation Street in order to provide improved access to the upper floors of the adjacent 1890s Arcade, which it already owns and which is undergoing a £2.3m refurbishment.

The cost of the purchase has not been made public.