Complaints over cleaning at flagship market hall just months after opening

A cleaning agency has been taken on to help spruce up Barnsley's flagship Glassworks market hall following complaints from traders.

By Paul Whitehouse
Wednesday, 29 May, 2019, 08:43
Complaints: Barnsley market traders have been concerned about scenes like this

The agency will carry out cleaning sessions twice a week to support work done by the market’s own staff, who have previously had sole responsibility for cleaning those areas.

Barnsley Council has also promised to address the 'housekeeping' of some stallholders following complaints that blood was left on floors and doors in service areas used by the traders.

The Barnsley group of the National Market Traders’ Federation has complained that the quality of cleaning in the building has meant traders have not been getting value from the service charges they have to pay.

They also claim that builders still working on the Glassworks complex, which will eventually involve more market stalls as well as shops and other attractions, have been leaving public areas in an untidy condition.

Although the new cleaning regime has been ordered, NMTF Barnsley group spokesman Keiron Knight has told the council there had been an impasse of around six weeks since he had raised issues on behalf of a trader over cleanliness and workmen using public entrances alongside customers.

Before the changed cleaning arrangements were introduced, Mr Knight told the council: “To date it is still every day an eyesore as a entrance way for the public as well as a trader paying service charges to look at this all day.”

An individual trader has also told the council he feels traders continually get “the short straw” over conditions in the new centre, while being offered no concessions over their service charges.

He also claimed customer numbers were falling and said: “Footfall figures are atrocious, the decline is unbelievable.”

Barnsley Council has recently recorded an increase in footfall across the town centre, despite the continuation of major works to complete the Glassworks and construct other major new elements of the regenerated town centre, including a cinema complex, public square and multi-storey car park.

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The new market is designed to be a cornerstone of Barnsley’s regeneration and the Glassworks has been designed to thrust it out into a highly visible location, with public doors directly onto Cheapside and May Day Green rather than the old arrangement where stalls were hidden behind shops.

The meat and fish market was the first element to open, in the Autumn, but a handful of stalls have yet to be let.

When the market moved into the new premises, some traders did not follow and others have taken shops in town instead, with concerns about the implications of signing up to the five year leases stallholders are now required to take.

A Barnsley Council spokesperson said: “Since the new market fully opened in November last year, feedback from customers and traders about the cleanliness of the space has been extremely positive.

“It’s clear from walking around the market that it’s a clean environment for traders to work in and customers to shop in. We’re proud of the market and our cleaning staff do a tremendous job in keeping it clean and tidy.

“However, the market is a huge space and from time to time some areas can become more untidy than others - especially in areas like service areas.

“Speaking to traders, we’ve identified the areas that need more attention and have commissioned additional cleaning to deal with those areas.

“I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t visited the market to go down and see the space for themselves; it’s bright, clean, spacious and more importantly, full of our fantastic traders selling a wide range of high-quality goods. We’re proud of Barnsley Market and the people of Barnsley should be, too."