3 September 2019
Ask any resident old enough to remember and they’ll tell you, Doncaster market is not the attraction it used to be. A thriving hub at the heart of Doncaster that was always the jewel in Doncaster’s crown. They sold just about anything you could care to mention, across a colourful array of stalls that would attract shoppers from miles around. Sadly, as the market has shrunk, so have the visitors.
Those traders we spoke to who are fortunate enough to still be trading feel they are left out the loop, watching as more than £3 million of Sheffield City Region SCRIF funding investment went in to modernising the wool market. They told us that one thing that drove trade away was when they discontinued the circular bus service that used to drop people off right in the heart of the market.
Green Party spokesperson, Kate Needham said “True, people’s shopping habits have changed, there are out of town sites and internet shopping to compete with but something needs to be done to stop the closures, support our local traders and improve access for the elderly and those with walking disabilities.”
Understanding this, the Green Party ran a petition calling on Doncaster council to bring back the small single decker buses, little nippers if you like, that used to run a circular service from the bus station to the market. Across to the Waterdale and back again.
Over 1180 people signed it.
Kate added, “Imagine the boost it would be to our hardworking market traders, having their customers dropped just outside their stall. Imagine how it could revitalise the Waterdale where trade has died since the southern bus station was closed. A lot of people pointed out how far it is to walk all the way from the bus and railway station down to the market and that, for the elderly it’s a real obstacle course. There’s also the potential for people to catch the bus at the station, go see a show at Cast, enjoy a meal and a drink and then be dropped off back at the station.”
Doncaster is on a list of 50 towns across the country set to benefit from a share of a £1 billion rescue fund from central government intended to revitalise the high street where Doncaster council have identified Waterdale as the area to receive a share of this funding. Kate finished by saying, “We think the part of the funds available to improve transport links could be put toward a modern, electric powered bus that will serve the community while helping keep the town centre pollution free - Harrogate already run an excellent free electric bus service, so why not here in Doncaster?”