In an interview today the leader of Sheffield City Council, Paul Scriven, was calm and well practised in answering questions about his support for the government and Nick Clegg’s vision for this country. But, when questioned about the locally controversial Castle Market his composure faltered and his answers had an undertone of irritation.
Essentially he held his morals in the right place and emphasised the council’s focus on saving social care services. He said: “Stall holders at Castle Market have been subsidised by the tax payer since 1993” and made it clear that they were not top priority in this city.
He saw it as unfair that they are expecting special treatment when shop owners from elsewhere in Sheffield may also be struggling and services such as Sure Start were at risk of being cut. He asked if he should put money into business or social care.
Mr Scriven claimed his powers are limited, “I can’t change the habits of shoppers and we’ve already invested huge amounts of money to get people into the city centre. Castle Market has been in a difficult position for years and we have helped promote it.”
The issue has come about prior to the new £18million market being built in The Moor where current stalls are expected to relocate in 2013. Since 2008 Castle Market stall holders have had a 40% discount on their rent which is going to be taken away and many are concerned they will not be in business to see the new development.
The council hopes the new market will bring in a more diverse range of customers but essentially Mr Scriven swept the subject aside and said: “They’re either going to have to downsize or go.”
By Sarah Walters