Market Failure?: Can the traditional market survive? - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents

Memorandum by City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council (MARKETS 14)

  Bradford Markets Service has been working to a five year strategy originally agreed by an all party Council Executive in February 2003. The Council's Executive not only approved the current markets strategy but also agreed to a capital investment plan funded from markets surpluses. The creation of a dedicated reserve fund generated from annual markets surpluses has to date delivered valuable and significant capital improvements to the markets facilities.

  These improvements have included carrying out essential maintenance repairs and enhancements/improvements to the buildings and the planned investment in the service's assets has enabled significant returns to be realised. Markets overall income levels have increased significantly over the last five years

  The strategy was recently reviewed and a second strategic report for the Service is being compiled. A principle priority of the new strategy focuses on how the Service could add value to the regeneration aspirations of the district and, in particular, Bradford City Centre.

  Bradford Markets Service is recognised nationally as providing and delivering major market style events such as the Bradford International Market in 2004 and 2006 which attracted over 650,000 visitors generating £10 million in economic activity in the City.

  I have taken the opportunity to enclose a couple of CD's which shows a number of Market style events that we have delivered over the last few years.


  1.1  The Council's Markets provision comprises indoor markets in Bradford, at the Oastler Centre and Kirkgate, and Keighley; and outdoor markets at Shipley and Bingley.

  1.2  The Service also operates a successful Wholesale Market and organises local produce markets and themed market events across the District.

  1.3  The Service supports over 300 small businesses and over 800 full and part time jobs, and provides around 800 lettable units totalling 120,000 sq ft of retail and wholesale floor space.

  1.4  Between eight and nine million visits are made to the three indoor markets on an annual basis.

  (See Appendix A for more detailed information on Bradford's market operations).

  1.5  At its meeting of 18 February 2003, the Council's Executive approved a five year Markets Strategy which included approval to retain annual surpluses for reinvestment into the Service.

  1.6  In September 2003 this was enhanced, approving the creation of a dedicated fund generated from annual markets surpluses to be used for the future maintenance and development work on the markets portfolio across the district. As a result, a rolling 10 year reinvestment programme for the Markets Service now runs alongside the revenue budget.


2.1  National context

  In 2007 an all party parliamentary group accepted a national markets policy framework which stated:

    "Successful markets matter in all their forms. Whether they are wholesale, specialist, farmers', street or covered markets, they contribute to the social, environmental and economic well-being of the nation. They do this by:

    — Providing a sense of place.

    — Being part of the nation's cultural tradition.

    — Remaining an important element of the economy, particularly in relation to independent retailing, local employment and business start-up opportunities.

    — Offering local access to fresh produce and other commodities.

    — Reducing environmental impacts eg by eliminating excessive packaging/waste".

  The Strategy Unit of the Cabinet Office produced a report in July 2008 titled "Food Matter Towards a Strategy for the 21st Century". The report was in response to the Prime Minister asking the Strategy Unit to take forward a project on food and food policy in the summer of 2007.

  The report stated "markets can be an important source of affordable, good quality food including fresh fruit and vegetables. They can be significantly cheaper than supermarkets and so provide access to good quality fresh food to those on low incomes."

  The report also stated "The success of Farmers' and specialist markets and revitalised large city markets provide models for greater local engagement with fresh, affordable food and highlight an opportunity to modernise or develop new food retail markets. Cities and towns can, through their planning policies and food strategies, support farmers' markets and traditional street markets."

  The Council's "Big Plan" (Sustainable Community Strategy for the district) highlights five priorities to transform the district:

    — Regeneration of the city and towns

    — Improving skills at all levels

    — Improving education outcomes

  And two cross cutting priorities

    — Cohesion and sustainability

  Markets will play a key role in action plans to deliver against these priorities and in the changing community leadership role of Local Government addressing community cohesion and neighbourhood renewal programmes.

  The 2006 Government Planning Policy (PPS6) stated that "Street and covered markets (including Farmers' markets) can make a valuable contribution to local choice and diversity in shopping as well as the vitality of town centres and to the rural economy. As an integral part of the vision for their town centres, local authorities should seek to retain and enhance existing markets and, where appropriate, re-introduce or create new ones. Local authorities should ensure that their markets remain attractive and competitive by investing in their improvement."

2.2  Local context

  Further to plans for the development of Broadway and Park at the Heart the Council has recognised the need to maintain a strong and cohesive city centre through promoting a commercially strong, diverse and attractive area at the top of town to encourage pedestrian movements through the centre from the Broadway development.

  The Markets have a key role to play in the area known as the Markets Quarter within the City Centre Masterplan for which we have a local development planning framework which identifies it as an area for mixed use development. One scenario is that the two Bradford retail Markets will consolidate in this area and focus on speciality products including an emphasis on fresh produce and ethnic products and foods. The area is central to the "World Mile" proposals continuing the ethnic theme along White Abbey Road. A Development Brief is being prepared in conjunction with Bradford Centre Regeneration which will look at opportunities the area offers to create a unique regional if not national visitor attraction and destination.

  As the Westfield Broadway shopping centre makes progress on site it is important to take forward the aspirations for the Markets Quarter to maintain a city wide regeneration programme.

  Markets also address the health and well-being agenda through the development of new markets for regional and local food at wholesale level, the fruit and vegetables into schools schemes, creation of food business start ups particularly in relation to BME communities, and at retail level ensuring local communities have access to fresh produce.

  Regarding growth in the local economy the future of markets rests in its ability to develop small businesses and offer less well off sections of the community (which includes migrant groups) the opportunity to become economically active.

  A key strength of the service, particularly amongst tenants and traders, is the equality of opportunity and fairness attributed to Council run venues and their key contribution to the cohesion agenda. The Service generates welcoming environments and demonstrates the strengths of a multi-community in a commercial environment and sustains shopping venues for the less well off in the community. In addition market style events on both a large scale and within communities have added to a feeling of local well being.

  On environmental issues the Markets Services has introduced a range of initiatives reducing packaging and increasing waste recovery and recycling. The markets are significantly contributing towards two of the Government's national indicators on climate change —NI 185 & NI 186 —by identifying means of reducing energy consumption at all of their properties and reducing mileage travelled for business across the district.


  3.1  The 2003-08 Markets Strategy took the evolving role of the Local Authority and set the commercial world of the markets against the Council's priorities and its long term vision.

  3.2  The case for the Council providing the Markets service was made along the lines of their ability to:

    — Be community builders, restoring pride and sense of ownership in the local population.

    — Be a nurturing ground for small businesses to start up and grow.

    — Add value to the leisure repertoire of town and city centres and tourist locations.

    — Provide employment opportunities for a wide range of local people.

    — Add value to the economic activity of urban centres and be an essential link in local commercial supply chains.

    — Be commercially profitable.

    — Be the innovators and creators of themed events as proven mechanisms for enlivening urban centres and generating a community "feel good" factor.

  3.3  The 2003 strategy created a five to six year plan for the markets based on reinvestment in core business and an expansion programme into themed events across the district.

  3.4  The key areas addressed over the last five years with some considerable degree of success are:

    — To provide attractive, clean and safe shopping environments for the public, traders and tenants of Bradford.

    — Maintain and where possible increase the trading surplus of the Markets Service by improving revenue income and controlling costs by efficiency gains.

    — To provide suitable opportunities and advice for the establishment and nurturing of small businesses as well as raising the standard, variety and quality of current service providers.

    — To support the achievement of the Council's Vision and Corporate Plan for the region of Bradford through an holistic approach to the provision of a Markets Service.

  3.5  Achievements from 2003 include:

    — March 2004—Highly commended LGC Awards Management Team of the Year category, when in Customer Services Dept.

    — August 2004—Bradford International Market Festival attracted over 600,000 visitors and was the biggest and first event of its kind ever hosted by Bradford Council.

    — July 2005—Achieved ISO 9001 accreditation for operational and financial procedures.

    — September 2005—Short listed White Rose Awards for Tourism—Best Tourism Experience of the Year.

    — August 2006—Bradford International Market attracted over 700,000 visitors over four days (over 200,000 tourists from o/s the District) and over £10m in local economic activity generated.

    — Jan 2007—Commended, NABMA Market of the Year Award.

    — March 2007—Winner ATCM Yorkshire Regional Award for Enhancing the Retail Offer with BIM 2006.

    — March 2007—Bradford Markets Management Team delivered a one day training seminar on Markets Management Best Practice to market practitioners from across the UK.

    — April 2007—Short listed Yorkshire Digital Awards in business to business category for Markets Website.

    — May 2007—Achieved ISO 14001 EMS accreditation for Environmental Good Practice.

    — June 2007—Winner and case study provider, IEMA Awards for Environmental Good Practise—waste recycling at the Wholesale Market.

    — June 2007—IIFA Bollywood Fringe Festival (as part of the Yorkshire IIFA Awards) attracting over 30,000 visitors and generating over £300k in local economic activity.

    — June 2007—Short listed SCEPTRE Awards with Kirkgate Shopping Centre recognising environmental best practice in Envirowise Managed Shopping Centre Scheme.

    — Sept 2007—Short listed White Rose Awards for Tourism Best Customer experience.

    — March 2008—Bingley Open Market re-launched on the new town square.

    — August 2008—Bradford Market Service cited as a good example of partnership working between public and private sector in the All Parliamentary Urban Development Group's report on "Greening UK Cities" buildings.

    — September 2008—Invited to run a workshop at an environmental conference hosted by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) and DEFRA in London.

    — November 2008—Short listed by the Chartered Institute of Waste Management in its awards for Environmental Excellence, in the category of sustainable facilities management, specifically for the work undertaken at St James's Wholesale Market.

  3.6  Over the last three to four years the Service has responded to requests from other Authorities and has advised and assisted in the development and delivery of themed market events. Commissions continue to be received and support is provided to other Authorities subject to capacity.

  3.7  The Service has regularly compared its performance with other Authorities in various benchmarking exercises. The most recent 2007-08 model (below) indicates the balance in Bradford of market days provided, innovative management and effective reinvestment planning has resulted in comparatively successful levels of shoppers visiting, occupancy levels and surpluses generated.




Surplus Generated
Visits (per 1,000 population
Lettings achieved
Stall Days provided (per
1,000 population)
Rent, inc arrears
Investment per 1,000 population
Customer satisfaction

  3.8  The Service's key performance indicators and business drivers since 2003-04 are detailed at Appendix B.


4.1  Revenue

  In February 2003 Executive approved the current markets strategy and approved a capital investment plan to be funded from markets surpluses. In September 2003 Executive further resolved that the "creation of a dedicated reserve fund generated from annual markets surpluses be approved to be used for future maintenance, re-investment and development work on the markets portfolio across the district".

As a result of these decisions an investment programme has been implemented and to date delivered valuable and significant capital improvements to the markets facilities. These improvements have included carrying out essential maintenance repairs and enhancements/improvements to the buildings.

This planned investment in the service's assets has enabled significant returns to be realised. Markets overall income levels have increased significantly over the last five years—although a note of caution must be expressed as the economic downturn begins to impact on the Service.



Controllable expenditure
Trading Surplus
(200k bim)

  In 2006-07 the markets accounts were transferred into the Council's general account from the trading account. From that date the annual surpluses have been taken into the general account to meet a budget surplus target (in 2007-08 £505k). The amount now available for reinvestment is any variation from this budget target and a commuted sum of £400k per annum from the Council's trading account.

4.2  Markets Capital Investment Programme—2003 to 2008

  Funding was prioritised towards the refurbishment of Keighley Market and a phased programme of works was prepared by the Council's external architects, Wm Saunders Partnership highlighting both essential and enhancement works that were needed to be undertaken to provide more modern shopping facilities.

  Refurbishment works has been ongoing taken place since 2004 and have included a new roof, entrances, lighting, heating and ventilation, internal decoration, new fire and security systems, new electrical supply and the installation of a ramp leading from the rear entrance to Morrisons.

  Currently a £500k market canopy is being constructed in front of the main entrance partially funded though a successful £220,000 application from the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) funded programme.

  Other areas of refurbishment that have taken place are internal repainting and new lighting schemes at Kirkgate Market and the installation of a new fire alarm system and roofing works at St James Wholesale Market.

£ 000
£ 000
£ 000
£ 000
£ 000
£ 000

St James Wholesale Market
Oastler Shopping Centre
Kirkgate Market
Outdoor Markets
Keighley Market Hall
Other —Environmental Initiatives

4.3  Markets Capital Investment Programme—2009 to 2014

  Future development work envisaged for the next five years will see the continued refurbishment of facilities at St James's Wholesale Market, new stalls and flooring at Keighley Market, development of Local Produce and Fine Food Festival Markets across the district, upgrading of stalls at Shipley Open Market and major redevelopment work at Kirkgate Market and Oastler Shopping Centre, the latter subject to the City Centre regeneration masterplans

£ 000
£ 000
£ 000
£ 000
£ 000

St James Wholesale Market
Oastler Shopping Centre
Kirkgate Market
Outdoor Markets
Keighley Market Hall
Markets Style Events Programme


  Keighley Market continues to trade successfully attracting in the region of 50,000 shoppers per week. The Market is fully let and is an important addition to the town's retail offer. Recent capital investment has helped to maintain the Market's popularity with shoppers and traders and next year a new £500,000 extension to the market will be built with funding of £220,000 from the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) programme.

  Bingley Market has recently relocated to an open air venue on the newly constructed Town Square as part of the proposed Myrtle Walk redevelopment. The opening event was a great success and the market continues to be well received by local business and residents. The market regularly attracts over 30 stalls each market day. (three days per week)

  The open market in Shipley Market Square will form an important part of the future redevelopment of the town centre for which a masterplan is being worked on.

  St James's Wholesale Market is trading extremely well and its 66 units are fully let. The market employs over 400 people and it is estimated that the market generates around £40 million in turnover and supports over 600 local and regional businesses.

  Declining confidence, the levels of shop vacancies in the city centre and the economic downturn are critical issues particularly to both the Oastler Shopping Centre and Kirkgate Market. Worryingly there is an increasing trend showing a reducing footfall and an increase in unit vacancies, particularly at Kirkgate Market where there are xxx no of vacant stalls. This market has been severely affected by the decline in non-food sales over the last 2/3 years and competition from major low value retailers particularly Primark who are located in the Kirkgate Centre.

  The trend of increased unit vacancies in Kirkgate Market will continue and the long term future of the market will heed to be addressed as part of the ongoing master plans for the City Centre. The strategic direction for the two city centre markets is o combine into one trading location, preferably around a remodelled Oastler Centre

  Short term actions/interventions are being undertaken by the Council to support footfall levels and trader confidence. However, there is a fundamental need for a proactive approach to address the level of shop vacancies in parts of the city centre.

  Discussions are ongoing regarding the future of the Morrison's Westgate store to ensure its redevelopment contributes to aspirations for the area. A recent survey of shoppers revealed a predicated significant drop in footfall per year at the Oastler Centre if the supermarket were to close.

  The Markets Service has entered into a partnership with the Council's Regeneration Department to support the Bradford Kickstart programme. A Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) funded programme has made available start up units in the Oastler Shopping Centre. The test trading opportunity will allow for the nurturing of new businesses that may be otherwise put off by the risks/costs of starting up a new business and will provide the first step on the retail ladder that may allow their development into other opportunities such as an indoor market or retail shop

  The Markets Service works with new businesses providing them with a fitted out trading unit complete with signage, point of sale material and public liability insurance.

  A local business counsellor will work closely with Market Officers to identify and select potential new businesses and arrange for them to commence trading. Monitoring and advice will be given to each new business during the initial 12 week trading period, including assistance to relocate to other market properties, where appropriate.

  The service sets itself high standards and has achieved ISO 9001 for its Quality Management Systems which includes recycling initiatives in partnership with SME's, and 14001 accreditation for its Environmental Management Systems. This year, the service is aiming to seek accreditation in BS 18001 for Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems.


  As well as delivering its core business of operating three indoor retail venues, a wholesale market and open markets the service also delivers market style events throughout the district.

  There has been a considerable growth in speciality markets such as Continental Markets, Christmas Markets, Farmers' Market and specialist Food Markets throughout the UK in recent years.

  The "signature" event that the Markets Service has delivered was the Bradford International Market held over the August bank holiday week-end in 2004 and 2006.

  In 2004 a four day celebration of European style street trading attracted over 650,000 visitors generating £10 million in economic activity in the City.

  In 2006 the International Market attracted almost a metric mile of market stalls from across the continent and beyond to a "traffic free" City Centre. To accommodate the event 10 City Centre roads were closed to traffic, nine bus stops were moved and 21 bus routes were reconfigured; the whole of Bradford's central retail footprint was pedestrianised.

  To support the introduction of this unique retail offer, two temporary park "n" ride sites were also installed. To complete the product a giant fun fair and over 60 hours of world class street theatre, entertainment and music was also commissioned for the four day event.

  The event attracted over 700,000 visitors to Bradford City Centre, with an average dwell time of around 5 hours and was estimated again to have generated almost £10 million in economic activity for the City.

  The Service has also delivered a programme of local events across the district which has included the following:

    — Bingley Food Festival.

    — Ilkley Festival (markets element).

    — Bradford Mela (markets element).

    — Saltaire Festival (markets element).

    — Monthly Farmers' Market at Bradford City Centre and Saltaire.

    — Keighley St George's Day Market.

    — Bradford Classic Car Event (continental market element).

    — Keighley Continental Market.

    — Bradford Christmas Market.

  The Service supports and advises on the delivery of themed market events for other local authorities. In 2008-09 commissions have been received from Kirklees, Rochdale, Leeds and Wakefield.

  In order to build on the success of these events it is proposed to extend the concept of food festivals across the district where quality locally sourced foods is made available. These events are complemented with cooking demonstrations by local, and celebrity chefs, a model that was well received when over 20,000 people attended the two day event in Bingley over the Easter week-end.

  It is proposed the programme would be partially funded by the markets re-investment allocation and external funding (eg; Working Neighbourhoods Fund, RDA).

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