Markets to stay council-run after review

Leigh Market
Leigh Market

The borough’s markets will remain under council control after traders overwhelmingly rejected alternative models to run them in a major review.

Wigan Council asked stallholders for their views on the way markets are currently run to find a way forward for the facilities.

Leigh traders’ representatives expressed delight the markets would remain in the hands of the town hall, saying under the current arrangement the venue is doing extremely well.

The review found a lack of enthusiasm for ideas such as transferring the markets to a private company or allowing traders to come together and run the facilities themselves.

Glenn Furnival, Leigh Market traders’ representative, said: “The Leigh traders are happy to be staying under council management.

“Leigh Market is a popular and thriving market with a great deal of potential to grow its popularity even more.

“We look forward to working with the council to improve and promote the market further.”

Stallholders at Leigh Indoor Market were quizzed along with the outdoor traders at Tyldesley, Atherton and Hindley and those working at similar facilities elsewhere in the borough.

However, the review did find traders want a new approach with the ideas behind The Deal used more in running the markets.

That is expected to mean more interaction between town hall officers and stallholders on issues such as keeping rates affordable and ensuring rental income is up-to-date.

Traders also want to speak to the town hall regularly about stalls being able to open for regular hours, the maintenance of the market hall buildings and the support of those working at the stalls for the local community.

Wigan Council has said it is very clear that its intentions in doing the review was to ensure the markets remain open and are able to thrive.

The town hall encouraged residents to use and support their local market.

Karl Battersby, Wigan Council’s director for economy and environment, said: “This was a useful exercise and captured the strength of support from traders for the markets to remain under council management.

“We know the markets will continue to face significant challenges from changing consumer habits so we will need to work with traders to be radical.

“We also aim to form a partnership approach.”