Doncaster Council must foot bill for changes to Wool Market that will bring in bowling alley and arcade
Any building changes to Doncaster’s Wool Market by moving retail traders to the Corn Exchange and to replace them with a bowling alley and arcade, will come at the expense of the council, a senior councillor has said.
Council bosses recently announced that the retail traders of the Wool Market are to be moved to the Corn Exchange to make way for the new attractions.
A question was put to the council at a recent meeting by resident Chris Nowak who said he only saw three non-food traders open at 2.30pm. He said he was told that they were being asked to close by Christmas to be moved to the Corn Exchange instead.
A bowling alley, an interactive darts game and an arcade will take their place. Council bosses said the food and events side of the Wool Market had been ‘very successful’ and the new plans would aim to capitalise on that.
Mr Nowak asked: “Where is the consultation for the new proposal for the Wool Market?
“I would hate to think, as I’m sure we all would, that a private company would be profiting from public money.”
The question posed by Mr Nowak also related to the £910,000 the council handed MAM back in 2020 as they cited Covid-19 related pressures.
Coun Cole said this was a ‘temporary investment’ to support the costs of ‘day-to-day’ operations and said without the bailout, today’s level of trading ‘wouldn’t be possible’.
The meeting also heard that since the partnership with the Essex-based firm, occupancy has gone up by nine per cent to 86 per cent in Doncaster market andis 85 per cent in Mexborough.
Coun Cole said: “If there’s any changes to the buildings that house Doncaster Council’s markets, we own those buildings, those are our decisions as we will make the necessary investments.
“We have a partner firm that manages the markets, promotes them, collects the rents and sorts out the day-to-day running but we would not give them permission to change the buildings or to spend their money on that.”
Coun Cole added that ‘no retail traders were being asked to quit’ the Doncaster town centre market estate.
“The hospitality element in the Wool Market has done incredibly well and we aim to continue to build on that strength with minimal disruption to existing traders.
“We’ll be able to create a new family, leisure and hospitality space which will hopefully bring new people into the market as a new family destination.
“We are proud of our market traders, selling top class produce and equally pleased to have niche and specialist retailers.”