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Looking good, but business is dying, say market traders

Worcester Editorial 17th Sep, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE TEMPORARY relocation of the city’s market has been met with a mixed reaction by traders, with one claiming their business had “almost died overnight”.

A £550,000 scheme began last week to refurbish Angel Place, after it was branded as an “embarrassment to the city” by Simon Geraghty, leader of Worcester City Council.

The project, which is expected to finish in December, has meant about 20 stall holders have had to take up temporary locations along the High Street, while work takes place.

Many of the traders have also been moved to units on Bank Street, Church Street and Pump Street where Helen Hodges’ stall has been relocated.

She has described business as “abysmal” since she moved to her new spot and feared it would be difficult to establish herself again after the changes.

“Hopefully in the next week or so things will pick but at the moment we have all been quite shocked,” she said.

“At the end of the day, the council are trying to accommodate us and we have all had to adapt to what we do to fit into these stalls and we are prepared to do that.

“But it took us years to build up our business down there and it is sort of died overnight. Are we going to get all the people we had before and new ones, who knows?

“We are only here until November 25, so by then we might just be establishing ourselves again and then we have to pick up and move again.”

Jo Lampitt, who runs a rug stalls outside the Guildhall, also expressed similar concerns, but she said the move has helped to change people’s perception of market stalls.

“I think councillors have had this impression in their heads that the market stalls were tatty looking, but that was not us that was the structure that we were standing beneath, so it was not our fault,” she said.

“But now we are under nice structures, our stalls look great.”

Coun Simon Cronin believed it had improved the look of the High Street and has called on council leaders to make the relocation permanent as he felt it would help to boost trade.

“They have been selling fruit and veg on Angel Place for about 20 years ago, but now they are outside the front of the Guildhall now it looks absolutely right,” he added.

“If we find that having those stalls dotted around the High Street is better in itself then my argument would be we have found a good answer so let’s run with it.”

David Blake, service manager for economic development and planning policy at Worcester City Council, said: “We’re confident that the £555,000 revamp of Angel Place will produce a much improved trading environment for market stall holders, retailers and shoppers alike.”

 

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