Plan for weekly Halesowen market thrown out

Proposals for a weekly Saturday market in Halesowen have been thrown out amid fears it would harm trade and force shops to shut.

Halesowen town centre - photo: Google StreetView
Halesowen town centre - photo: Google StreetView

Proposals for a weekly Saturday market in Halesowen have been thrown out amid fears it would harm trade and force shops to shut.

Traders, councillors and bosses at the town's Cornbow Shopping Centre objected to plans to hold a farmers, craft and general market on town centre streets each Saturday.

At present a 35-stall market is held on alternate Saturdays. But operator Steve Evans felt a weekly event would help establish the market as a regular shopping destination.

However, Dudley Council's licensing sub-committee decided to refuse Mr Evans' application at a hearing yesterday. Sub committee chairman Councillor Alan Taylor said present frequency of the market, which can be held up to three times a month, gave a "balance" for the community and for shoppers.

Speaking at the meeting, Cornbow Centre manager, Eve O'Connor, said stalls already "obliterate" the view of shop fronts on market days.

"The shops are paying their business rates and they can't be seen on their busiest trading day," she said.

"We feel that the market is evolving over time with the outcome that it will become a general market and it is felt from the businesses that they are having to compete against it as well as find the overheads that they have to pay.

Halesowen chamber of trade chairman, Steve Fitzpatrick, speaking at the meeting, added: "I feel that a market held every Saturday would cause problems for the shops that are already there. I feel that if we have a market there every Saturday shops will close."

The market's size was increased to 35 last October to allow 10 "general" stalls which could sell a variety of goods.

Mr Evans' spokesman Dermot McGillicuddy, said during the meeting: "It is confusing for people to know when the market is on."

By Andrew Turton

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