Pensioner hopeful for Sheffield market changes

Val Wilson tours market with coun Leigh Bramall after she challenged him in council meeting.
Val Wilson tours market with coun Leigh Bramall after she challenged him in council meeting.
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A feisty pensioner who challenged a council chief to see how market traders in Sheffield were struggling is ‘hopeful’ something will be done.

Valerie Wilson threw down the gauntlet to Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for skills, business and development, at a full council meeting earlier this year.

The retired Wincobank mum said removal of the FreeBee bus because of budget cuts meant people who used to be able to travel to Castle Market now struggled to get to the Moor Market.

The 65-year-old spent more than an hour taking Coun Bramall round the market so he could meet and chat to traders.

Val said afterwards: “He seemed to agree that we need to do something.

“He took on board everything that the traders had to say and did seem very interested.

“Some did say that trade had gone down because of the Freebee bus.

“I am very pleased that he did come down with me and the traders were also interested in what he had to say, he explained a lot of things.

“I’m hopeful that something will be done now.”

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The £18 million market has now been open for almost a year. It is hoped a new rapid transit bus service between Rotherham and Sheffield could provide a link between the two market sites at a cheap fare when it launches – but that is not expected to be until 2016.

In the meantime, officers will look at how to better promote current bus services that call at the market.

Coun Bramall said it had been a useful visit.

He added: “In the long term we are looking for a solution for the rapid transit to do part of what the FreeBee did.

“In the short term we are looking at options which include better promoting buses that go to the market – more go to the Moor than went to Castle market – and publicising the fact bus fares are 50p from inside the inner ring road.”