Concern among market traders following repeated criminal attacks at town centre carpark
A review of how town centre car parks are used has been promised by Barnsley Council after market traders complained they have been hit by thefts from the space allocated for their vehicles.
A van belonging to trader Nicky Higgs, who runs a stall selling sweets on the market, was stolen during trading hours on Friday and a vehicle belonging to a clothes retailer was also attacked, with locks drilled out, at the John Street car park.
The incidents followed the recent theft of another stallholder’s vehicle from the same car park, according to the Barnsley group of the National Market Traders’ Federation.
They have been asking for a switch from John Street, which is currently used for traders’ parking, to the recently constructed Market Gate car park, near the old Ceag site, in recent meetings with markets officials.
Spokesman Keiron Knight said they believed that car park offered greater security for traders, but also meant more space would be available at John Street for shoppers, while the temporary pedestrian railway bridge at Jumble Lane left Market Gate more awkward to use.
In an email to Barnsley Council, the NMTF said: “Traders rely on their vehicles and they cost thousands of pounds to replace, not to mention the cost of the excess the unfortunate traders will now have to pay their insurance companies”.
The NMTF email requested a “common sense” reaction from the council, to “safeguard all market traders’ vehicles before it escalates further, this is a very serious issue and cannot be ignored”.
Barnsley Council have confirmed they are to conduct a review of parking in the town centre and Coun Tim Cheetham, Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said: “We were sorry to hear about Mr Higgs’ van being stolen. As part of the town centre’s car parking strategy, we will be reviewing how we utilise our car parking assets to improve security, availability and experience for all users. As part of this work we will be considering options around parking for market traders.”