Burnley Market Hall: ‘nothing has been decided’

Burnley market Hall
Burnley market Hall
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Bosses at Burnley Council have dismissed claims that Burnley Market Hall is under threat of closure.

The claims were made in the Burnley Express by market trader Mr Phil Rathbone, who accused the council of not doing enough to support the market.

But Mr Colin Hill, the council manager responsible for the markets, dismissed Mr Rathbone’s claims as “alarmist” and “unhelpful”.

He added Mr Rathbone had been offered the same leasehold terms and conditions as he was offered last year, but has so far refused to sign up.

The closure claims were also disputed by fellow trader Mr Steve Wignall, whose family have run Granada Cafe in the market for years, and who said trade was as good as it has been for a long time.

Mr Wignall said: “I employ nine people and, while there was a dip in trade during the recession, trade has again increased.”

Meanwhile, council bosses have said a review of the market is underway.

Mr Mike Cook, director of Economic Regeneration, said: “This is a responsible approach, and it will not be a surprise to anyone, given the challenges market traders have seen for a number of years. There are changes in shopping trends which are being felt by traditional markets in many towns up and down the country.

“The council has commissioned an initial report from consultants which is now being carefully considered.

“Any decision on the future of Burnley Market Hall will be taken following consultation with all those interested and open debate.

“Nothing has been decided, and nothing is going to be decided in the immediate future.

“In the meantime, the council continues to renew three-year leases for existing tenants, even though we are not currently offering new three-year lease terms to new tenants.

“Burnley Council is absolutely committed to keeping and developing a vibrant and attractive town centre. We already bring in shoppers from miles around, and this is a key part of the local economy.

“We’ve seen recently the investment in Charter Walk, creating larger units. Plans are underway to improve the centre’s pedestrianised area over the next few years.

“We urge everyone, whether they live in the borough or further afield, to visit and shop in Burnley. It has a thriving shopper-friendly centre with a wide range of shops and facilities – something for everyone.”

He added: “Burnley Market continues to be a key part of that offer.”