MARKET traders are preparing to defend their livelihood at a council meeting on Wednesday.
Many stall and business owners are upset with the prospect of having to move from their current location under Secklow Gate Bridge if a new Primark store is built in that space.
The market will be scaled down from 200 or more stalls to around 110 and placed along the strip of land leading up to Midsummer Place.
Gary Eaton has been trading at the Phone Doctor stall at the market for 12 years and potentially could be speaking at the council meeting on Wednesday.
He said: “I have been here 12 years and it has taken that long to really establish myself here, now we feel very threatened. I think this will cause a lingering death for the market.
“We will be next to a building site for however long it takes to build the new store and there will be hardly any access to get to us.”
Mr Eaton and other traders feel they are not set up for the proposed changes, which would see them bringing their stock in every day and taking it home again at the end of the day. Currently, they pull down the shutters at the end of the day and leave stock securely locked up.
Mr Eaton said: “I couldn’t trade there. A lot of us have got families and mortgages and we can’t afford to have our businesses affected. Hopefully on Wednesday we can get our frustrations across to the council and get some answers.
“Last time the bridge closed, after the fire, we had half of the stalls boarded up and lost 40 per cent of our trade in 18 months. Lets hope that doesn’t happen again.”
Chris Lee, who runs a grocery stall, said “It takes decades to evolve a market like this. You can’t just move it aside and expect it to survive.”
Wednesday’s public meeting starts at 7.30pm.