Blackpool's market traders still waiting for new home
Blackpool’s dislodged market traders are still waiting to move into temporary premises after being promised alternative accommodation by the council.
Stallholders who have been forced to leave Abingdon Street Market while it undergoes a major refurbishment had been due to relocate to the former Top Shop store on Victoria Street in April.
A council spokesperson said: “Plans remain in place to relocate the traders and the team continues to work to finalise lease agreements as quickly as possible to get the market stallholders set up in their new locations so they can start trading again.”
Stallholders have been left frustrated by the delay which has left them unable to trade since the lockdown on non-essential retail was lifted on April 12.
Sameh Abdel Messih, joint owner of SMS Mobility, has found new premises on Abingdon Street after losing his stall in the market, and is now due to open at 9am on Tuesday May 18.
He said: “We should have opened when lockdown for retail finished, and everyone was so looking forward to it.
“But the council left us in the lurch. There would only have been room in the Top Shop unit for two mobility scooters, whereas we have about 30.
“So without any help from the council, we have found our own new premises. But they are more expensive and this has cost us thousands of pounds.”
Bernard Power, who owns Mr Smart Ltd menswear, said he would be moving into the former Top Shop unit but had been frustrated by the delays.
He said: “I would have loved to have opened on April 12 as there was quite a boom on the high street and that would have helped us.
“But it is what it is, and I’m pleased with what we have been offered.”
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.
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