Here's how Blackpool traders have reacted to Abingdon Street Market plans
There has been a mixed reaction from stallholders to plans for alternative premises for them to trade from while Abingdon Street Market is closed for refurbishment.
The market will not reopen after lockdown but Blackpool Council has offered traders chance to relocate temporarily to other vacant town centre units including the ground floor of the former Top Shop store on Victoria Street.
Traders will be dislodged for up to 12 months while work is undertaken as part of a £3.6m investment by the council which bought the market last October.
Bernard Power, who owns Mr Smart Ltd menswear in the market, said he was pleased the proposed temporary premises were in the main shopping area.
He said: “I’m pleased it’s going to be right in the heart of the retail area as we didn’t want to be left in the backstreets.
“I have stalls on a couple of other markets but for some of the traders this is their only form of income, so it’s important the council does not forget about us.
“Also I have two ladies who work on my stalls and I don’t want them to be out of work.
“The existing market building is looking a bit old and decrepit now, and it does need refurbishing. Hopefully when the work is done, it will look really nice and attract more shoppers in.”
Steve Meyer, manager of Abingdon Street Market Fish which has traded at the market for 40 years, said they were still uncertain about where they would relocate to.
He said their business needed refrigeration, hot and cold running water and specialist units to display the fish.
The council has said it will offer units in other parts of the town centre to those businesses requiring refrigeration.
Mr Meyer said: “For us, the unit has to be up to health and hygiene standards so we still need to get more information from the council.
“Another option we are looking at is the possibility of trading from a mobile van with a fish display. But it’s whether the council will let us put it in the town centre, for example in St John’s Square.”
Some traders are unhappy with the months of uncertainty they have faced after being told earlier this year by the council their leases would not be renewed.
They are also concerned there is not enough time to get the new units up and running in time for the reopening of non-essential retail on April 12.
One, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “This is after three months of nothing, and despite being sent a letter mentioning the relocation there has been nothing done in the sense of action as we are about to hit a four day weekend.
” We have been left in limbo for months and even now they are still in no rush to put this “magic plan” into action.
“As much as it’s good we finally have some sort of plan, we have had months to sort this and this has caused unnecessary stress and anxiety on all of the stall holders.”
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