Ancient pig law shouldn’t stifle new market plan

A REGULAR farmers’ market could be held to further boost Mirfield’s thriving town centre – provided it doesn’t fall foul of an ancient by-law.

The town’s Mayor, Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton badgered officials at a joint meeting of Kirklees and town and parish council chiefs about staging the market.

Another session is due at the end of October and Coun Lees-Hamilton hopes for progress.

Kirklees are said to be keen on the idea – even though the old bylaw could prevent it. Huddersfield already hosts such an event and under the bylaw Mirfield could be deemed to be in competition.

Coun Lees-Hamilton added: “It goes back centuries, possibly to the time of King John.

“He decided you can’t have a market based on the distance you could drive a pig in a day.

“But I can’t see any negatives in the promotion of clean, green and healthy food. Mirfield is also a great place for crafts and a farmers’ market would give an extra place for people to showcase their work.”

One-off speciality markets have been held previously and Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “The template is already there.”

Also a Kirklees councillor, she wants a district-wide review of markets policy and added: “They can be a good way to drive the economy.”

The town council would organise the events, with proceeds ploughed back into other community activities.

A Kirklees spokeswoman said: “The council holds the exclusive market rights for all towns in Kirklees.

“Anyone who is interested in running a market within the authority’s boundaries should in the first instance contact our market service to discuss.”

• Mirfield missed out on the Government’s Great British High Street Awards this week.

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