‘THE market is killing the high street’, a town councillor has claimed.

At the monthly meeting of Holywell Town Council, plans were discussed about the future of Holywell’s traditional market.

Cllr Michael Brooke raised the discussion that members of the council should consider that the county council closes the market in support of local businesses after previous negotiations indicated that the High Street closure was having a negative impact on their trade.

He said: “The market in Holywell has had its day. Closing the High Street off completely on a Thursday to cater for a butcher, a key cutter and a carpet stall is ridiculous. The market is killing off our high street slowly but surely.

“I’m regularly on the High Street for the market day and I can tell you that the place is dead. It is time that we listened to the businesses that employ our people and let the idea of the market go.”

Holywell High Street closes its one-way road access every Thursday to accommodate the visiting market stalls, but businesses claim this is damaging the permanent traders based on the main shopping strip.

Cllr Brook petitioned local businesses permanently based in the High Street and Tower Gardens area for their views on what the closure was doing in terms of business, from this he told the meeting that 52 stores have expressed a desire to have the market closed.

At the last council meeting, held in March, members were asked to consider a request from the local Business Group to support them in taking over the running of the market but it was confirmed that the town council were left with its hands tied and unable to pay the public liability insurance policy for any third-party organisation on legal grounds from their insurers.

In recent months, Flintshire County Council has closed Flint Market and the responsibility of the market in Connah’s Quay Shopping Precinct has been handed over to the town council.

According to the county council website, Mold’s weekly street market is one of the most successful in North Wales with “a huge range of traders attending each week and line the High Street and Daniel Owen Square with stalls of all types.”

Cllr Lynda Carter voiced her opinions about how the town should not give up on its flagship market, instead looking at ways to develop and improve the day to a unique experience that would help draw people to Holywell.

She said: “If we are marketing ourselves as Destination Holywell, we should really consider offering our market. We should look at ways to make ourselves stand out and do something different to revitalise the market.

“It would be a great shame to lose it as, once it is gone, we would struggle to justify bringing it back from nothing.”

Similar thoughts were made by Cllr Barry Scragg, who said that the council could work together with local organisations to help revitalise the market scene in the town.

Town mayor, Cllr Rosetta Dolphin, raised the point that during the High Street roadworks it would be necessary to move the market to a new location for up to 16 weeks.

Dismissing claims that the markets are no longer profitable, she said that “these traders would not come to Holywell if they were unable to make a living.”

In response, Cllr Brooke argued that if there was a profit to make, why more stalls were not coming to the area.

It was proposed that the situation was investigated closer to the time of the roadworks concluding and seeing if the absence of the market makes any difference to businesses, and suggesting the temporary home becomes a permanent home for traders.