Knaresborough Town Hall
Knaresborough Town Hall

Plans for changes to Knaresborough Market off the table for now, but a working group to be formed


The Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, Councillor Richard Cooper, this evening spoke at Knaresborough Town Council and said they would not move forward with changes to Knaresborough Market. The meeting saw an unprecedented attendance from the public of over 100.

Previously the authority said that they were planning to remove council supplied stalls during April 2018, following advice from an external consultancy. They said it was a positive step in helping keep the market going.

Councillor Cooper addressed the meeting explaining that around half of the markets in the UK supply stalls and the advice that he had been given was that those that didn’t supply stalls tended to be more successful. He continued with a warning that there was an underlining decline in both Knaresborough and Ripon Market, and if that decline continued they would not be viable to operate at some point.


Patrick Kilburn, Head of Parks and Environmental Services, Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council
Patrick Kilburn, Head of Parks and Environmental Services, Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council


Councillor Cooper said:

In parking this issue for now, I want to talk at length over the Summer and Autumn next year to come up with ways that we can make the market grow and thrive.

There needs to be a working group to look at what needs to be done.



The working group would be formed of the Council Head of Service, Councillor Cooper or Council Member responsible for service and two trader representatives from both Knaresborough and Ripon. There would also be other nominated members and would work to no fixed deadline.

Councillor Cooper said:

The success of the market is critical to the success of the High Street, but it may takes months to come to right answer.

But clearly the response from the Consultants was not welcomed.


The market has direct costs to Harrogate Borough Council of £50K per year

A stall is £25 per week


Knaresborough Town Council Meeting
Knaresborough Town Council Meeting


Councillor David Goode, the chair of the meeting opened the meeting to questions from the public.

  • There had been a whispering campaign and the council should have consulted in the first place.
  • Knaresborough always gets a raw deal as it has to pay for a town and a borough council.
  • The reduction in the market was not necessarily a continuing trend, it was part of a cycle that the market went through.
  • There are a lot of people that all should have a say and it’s not there just for stall holders, it’s an integral part of the town.
  • If market traders brought their own stalls it would all be higgidy piggidy.
  • Councillor Cooper added it is important that we target those that could come and those that did come and left.
  • That the experience for the traders was not always good.
  • That the plans were not ambitious enough, although it was acknowledged that often a lot of work falls on the shoulders of a few.
  • The decline in the market was a reflection in Knaresborough not getting its fair share of the cake.
  • That the market was as important for Knaresborough as the Harrogate Convention Centre was for Harrogate.
  • It’s not a failing market but a neglected market by HBC.



Councillor Cooper said:

A council is not just there to ensure money is spent well, but should be a community facilitator – we need to do things that don’t always make a profit.

The meeting filled the assembly room in the town hall at Knaresborough Town Council, even over-spilling into a side room.

The success of the market will, from here on, depend on how well the working group comes together and how well the traders and interested parties and Borough Council all work together to work towards a solution. They may also need to co-opt support in areas where there is not sufficient skills in the group, such as marketing.


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