Wrexham's indoor markets need investment, say councillors

A report says one option would be to close the General Market

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Wrexham councillors say they are committed to the future of the town centre's indoor markets as figures show a fall in the number of stallholders.

The council said occupancy levels have dropped from 90% in 2007 to about 70% at the Peoples Market, Butchers Market and General Market.

A report said one option could be to shut the General Market, but councillors called for more investment at a meeting on Wednesday evening.

The markets employ 250 people.

The Butchers Market was built in 1848 and the General Market was built in 1879. Both are Grade-II listed. The Peoples Market opened in 1992.

The report discussed on Wednesday said: "The markets make a significant contribution to the local economy.

"The three indoor markets alone, at current levels of occupation, support approximately 250 jobs and prove a good, low risk route to self employment.

"They also contribute to the Green capital agenda, by encouraging recycling of books, furniture, electrical goods etc"

'Crossroads'

However, it added: "The markets are at a crossroads.

"Not only are there external macro-problems, such as the recession, changing consumer spending patterns, the internet, but there are also micro-problems such as the changing retail configuration of Wrexham."

It said one option would be to close the General Market and relocate 10 occupiers to the other two markets.

It said the option might be "attractive" in cost terms, but added that "this solution is not advocated because it is recognised the closure of this landmark building in a core location within the town centre, even on a temporary basis, would have detrimental effect on the town centre".

The report recommended retaining all three markets, but said the next options "are to consider the levels of investment and improvement necessary to achieve a viable and confident future".

On Wednesday evening the employment, business and investment scrutiny committee recommended in excess of £100,000 be invested in the markets, and a task group be set up to look at ways to turn around their fortunes.

About 30 traders and other people attended the Guildhall meeting which recommends the action be taken by the council's executive committee which has the final say.

Earlier this year, the council agreed to set up an action plan to try and boost the image and trade of Wrexham - north Wales' biggest town.

An action plan will be set up to boost the image and trade of north Wales' biggest town.

The plan is to devise a promotional campaign and target businesses in the town, the media and shoppers.

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