Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said that more needs to be done to reverse falling custom at Morley Market.
Mr Pickles, on a visit to the town, spent time speaking to local traders who expressed concerns about the market’s decline in the face of growing competition from supermarkets and the high street.
Mr Pickles, who is also responsible for local government policy, said: “In a word, yes, more needs to be done to support the traders. You can’t get people to come but you can make it an attractive place to come to.
“It’s a while since I’ve been to Morley Market, but it’s still got a bit of sparkle. However, it needs to be connected with the population and it needs to become an attractive proposition.”
Charles Lillywhite, who runs butcher shop Charlie’s Joint in the market said he was impressed by Mr Pickles’ response.
He said: “Giving local traders small business relief has been very helpful to me and so I’m grateful for that.
“Of course big supermarkets coming into the area affect your trade but all you can do is just get on with it and do your job.”
However, Debbie Ackroyd, who runs gifts and charms outlet Kyro, dismissed Mr Pickles’ visit as “lip service”.
She said: “Morley is a great town and I love it but if they don’t help the market then the heart of the place goes.
“The indoor market needs promoting better and perhaps an outside market would help. We need to change the mindset of people and help them realise what we have to offer ahead of the supermarkets.”