Rochdale Market, Greater Manchester, is being closed with the last trading day set for Monday, 14 October 2019 as trader numbers and revenue continue to fail.
Rochdale Borough Council writes:
Over the past year the number of traders regularly attending the market has halved and it is not financially viable. There have been 4 days over the past year, including 2 Saturdays, when no traders turned up, and on 9 others, only one trader was present. Although we’ve been successful in attracting new businesses into vacant shops in the town centre (more than 20 have moved in since 2015), there has not been the same level of interest in the market.
We began running the market after the Exchange Shopping Centre, where it was previously based, was sold. In 2017, as part of efforts to maintain and enhance it, an external operator was selected but the relationship ended after failing to live up to expectations. We took control of the market again, including the renovated indoor section, in October 2018 but the quality and number of traders has not improved. On 47 of the 151 markets days held since 1 October 2018 there have been fewer than 5 traders. When costs are deducted the market is currently losing between £3,000 and £4,000 a month.
Efforts to maintain the market, including giving rent-free periods to traders and subsidising bills, have not been successful. Outdoor traders were also given the opportunity to run the outdoor market themselves but their proposals, which we considered carefully, were not viable. Our market manager will support any traders who would like to relocate to other markets in the borough or any other suitable location. Special events, which have worked well since they were introduced, will continue and we’ll look to build on these in the future. The market hall is in a prime location in the heart of Rochdale town centre and we will be working on alternative use for this important building going forward.
For more background and images see the BBC report