MARKET LEADER; Queensgate fights back to be best in Britain.
HUDDERSFIELD'S Queensgate Market is the best of British.
The town centre indoor market has beaten 700 others to be named Market Hall of the Year.
The award was made by the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) at its annual awards ceremony.
It is the second time Kirklees markets have received such an accolade following Dewsbury Market's Market of the Year title in 2007.
The news comes less than two years after some traders voiced fears for the future of the market.
They spoke out after several stalls shut up shop, blaming falling customer numbers.
But now the top award for Queensgate Market has been hailed by Clr Peter McBride, Kirklees Cabinet member for investment and housing, who said: "This is terrific news for Queensgate Market and a great honour for us to be recognised as the best in the country."
The council's winning entry highlighted efforts to encourage new, young traders into the market and boost its attraction to a new generation of shoppers.
Last year Huddersfield University student Matthew Postlethwaite set up wraps business Wrapik at Queensgate.
Wrapik was one of the winners of a business start-up competition run by Kirklees Council over the summer.
The prize was a shop rent and service charge free for six months followed by a further six months of discounted charges.
Matthew's twin brother Jeff also started his fast food business Fasta Pasta, now called Twists, at Queensgate.
Last year he won a PS50,000 investment from TV programme Be Your Own Boss to expand.
Clr McBride added: "I am delighted to hear that the judges were impressed by the innovative work of our markets team.
"For some time now we've focussed our efforts on encouraging new businesses to see market trading as a cost-effective way to test out their ideas.
"Our offer of introductory free space to university students and young people just setting out in their business career has not only won the praise of the judges but national recognition too.
"The young entrepreneurs behind Fasta Pasta, who recently won PS50,000 worth of investment on BBC's Be Your Own Boss, started out in Queensgate Market."
Kirklees Markets was praised for bringing together a collection of agencies to stage an Enterprise Fair, and for a number of schemes which allow fledgling businesses to trade for a short period at little or no cost, and without the need for a tenancy.
Meanwhile, established market traders have been offered training and workshops on how to use Twitter and Facebook, promoting not only their business but the Market Hall and what it has to offer generally.
Kirklees Council has also looked at the findings of retail guru Mary Portas's review of town centres for the Government.
Clr McBride added: "The Portas Review talks at length about how, when done well, markets can be used to bring a new audience and life into our town centres.
"It's a message we've paid attention to and I'm delighted that our fresh approach has won the highest praise from NABMA.
"I'd like to congratulate all of those who have played a part in securing this award and, of course, our valued Queensgate Market traders and customers."
Your view? Tel: 01484 437767 Text: EXLETTERS followed by your message, name and area you live in to: 85858 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Forum: www.examiner.co.uk Market story ? The hall replaced the old Victorian market, which was demolished in the 1960s ? The present building was designed by the renowned town centre architects J Seymour Harris ? The Hall opened on April 6, 1970 ? It is best known for the 21 asymmetric concrete shells which make up the roof ? The 20th Century Society applied to have the hall listed in 2004 ? It is now home to 75 traders
| MARKETS CHAMPION: From left, Geraldine Carter, president of the National Association of British Market Authorities, Adam Corbally, former BBC The Apprentice candidate and guest speaker, Chris Cotton, Kirklees markets manager, local government minister Don Foster MP and award sponsor Jeremy Brabin, of KPR Mid Link
NEW FUTURE: The Queensgate indoor market has tried to create a vibrant future for stallholders