The Heat is Off: Traders’ Rage Over Market’s Lack of Heat

Lack of heat cited as reason behind market’s reduced footfall

The heat deprived Huddersfield Open Market

Heat Free: the majestic semi-open market of Huddersfield Open Market. Image by Alastair Wallace (via Shutterstock).

Huddersfield Open Market, a five to seven minute walk from its iconic railway station, is a good haunt for the town’s bargain hunters. It attracts some people from the other side of the Pennines, thanks to frequent trains from Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations. This week, the lack of heat has been hailed as a reason behind reduced footfall.

Traders of the open market’s food stalls have turned up the heat on the lack of heating. It is claimed that Kirkless Metropolitan Borough Council have turned off the overhead heaters as an economy measure. With there being no gas heating on for two weeks, an anonymous customer said in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner “the market is dying” with only a quarter of its stalls being open. In the last month, the floods that have afflicted both sides of the Pennines, haven’t helped either.

Stallholders in the semi-open market pay £45.00 a day for using the stalls. One stallholder, interviewed in the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Vangelis Dimopoulos of the Snack Shack pays £180 per day. He said that the lack of heat would turn away customers, as well as making it colder for him. Not least his lower income from reduced footfall.

As well as statements about cost-cutting and economy measures, another three possibilities had been stated. The one that has piqued the traders is the possibility that stallholders wanted the heating switched off. The claim by a Kirklees MBC spokesperson was:

“People hanging around the heaters and carrying out anti-social behaviour.”

In the same article, Mr. Dimopoulos refuted his statement. His response was:

“He had seen no sign of anti-social behaviour among people using the cafe. Ninety per cent of them are pensioners who spend two or three hours at the market.”

Hardly what you would call anti-social behaviour. Well, way off the mark. Who could fault them for keeping warm and standing beside an overhead gas heater?

Opened in 1888 as a vegetable wholesale market, the semi-open part of the market assumed its present use in 1980. For over 35 years, it has played host to twice-weekly second-hand markets, on Tuesdays and Saturdays.