Historic Willenhall Market facing loss of £50k

A loss of almost £50,000 will be made by Willenhall Market this year, it emerged today.

Historic Willenhall Market facing loss of £50k

A loss of almost £50,000 will be made by Willenhall Market this year, it emerged today.

Council bosses are now examining whether to bring the installation and dismantling of stalls in-house in a bid to save money.

Waste collection has been brought in-house, while £27,000 has been saved by changes to the electricity supply. Walsall Council's regeneration chief Councillor Adrian Andrew insists there are no plans to axe the market because it has a "positive economic impact" on the town.

The cabinet member for regeneration, added: "That is why we are trying to reduce costs."

Long-standing traders called for the town to be made into a "living museum" in a bid to draw in more shoppers.

Bob King, who has run King's Fruit and Veg store for 37 years, said: "What we need is the buildings to be smarted up or the town to draw on its heritage and become a living museum.

"That way, tourists might want to come into it."

It has emerged the running costs for the market in 2011 to 2012 is estimated to be around £133,000, including staff costs, rates, waste collection costs and the cost of putting up the stalls at the site.

Income for the historic market is set to be around £84,000 this year, meaning the council is having to spend £49,000.

Without changes to the electricity supply, the cost to the taxpayer would have faced a £76,000 bill.

It emerged earlier this year that fewer than half the 70 stalls at Willenhall are occupied on Fridays and Saturdays, although traders are still flocking to the Wednesday pitch.

It was announced this week extra market days will be held in Wolverhampton to cater for demand in the run up to Christmas.

The indoor and outdoor markets in the city centre along with the pitch at Wednesfield will operate for an additional day each on December 22.

Bilston meanwhile gets six additional trading days on December 11, 13, 14, 18, 20 and 21.

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