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Burnley's open market faces axe
BURNLEY’S open market is set to close and stallholders are fearing for their futures.
The old-style market, which operates five days a week, has just a handful of traders.
Burnley Council has given stallholders five weeks’ notice to move into the main market hall next door.
The open market has around 60 stalls but only nine are occupied.
Sudhir Raja, 50, who has run an electronics shop in the open market for more than 20 years, said traders had not been consulted.
He said: “All markets are suffering, but I’ve been here a long time and I don’t think they’re really doing enough to support traders."
Maureen Maxwell, 67, has been trading on the Wednesday bric-a-brac market since 1986.
She said: “The whole idea was a mistake, putting it upstairs and far away from the normal thoroughfare.”
And traders in the market hall said they were worried about the knock-on-effect that the closure will have on their businesses.
Simon and Jenny Maxwell have run a pet shop for 21 years.
Jenny said: “Any closure is detrimental to business, but unless there’s some change in people’s shopping habits it will continue.
“Our customers are older and the younger ones that we need are not coming in.”
Two recent casualties have been Holdens Cafe which is due to close in November after 67 years and Seatons sweets also shut down after owner Craig Cain voiced fears that his business would not survive.
Footfall for the market is now down to 26,000 visitors per week, and overall footfall in the town centre has dropped 11 per cent in the last year.
Council leader Julie Cooper urged people to support their local market.
She said: “We have offered discounted rates to traders moving into the closed market, but the problem is that people are not shopping in markets anymore like they used to. I always encourage people to use the market and I go out of my way to use it but it is always very quiet."
Colin Hill, Burnley Council’s head of facilities management, said: “We are consolidating all the activities that are on offer in both the market hall and the traditional open market area which is adjacent to it.
“The traders affected by the changes to the open market will be offered space to trade in the covered market hall.
“The bric-a-brac market will continue to operate in the open market area on Wednesdays initially and then, depending on demand, a second day as well."
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