CONSULTANTS have been employed to review Burnley Council’s market operations.

The external team will review the town’s main market, in Curzon Street, and make recommendations to the council on the future of the operation.

The move comes after the town’s open air market was closed, with stallholders given five weeks’ notice to move into the main market hall next door.

The open market had around 60 stalls but, at the time of closing, only nine were occupied.

Cabinet member for regeneration and economic development Coun Shah Hussain said the review will look at the demand for the market space.

He said: “The council has commissioned a strategic review of Burnley Markets by external consultants which should report its findings in a few months.

“All tenants are aware of the review following a recent detailed briefing.

“The review will look into the nature of the demand for the markets going forward and what the range of options the council has to address that demand.”

One market trader, who did not wish to be named, said: “Footfall isn’t great at the moment and after 3.30pm in the week it is really quiet.

“The rents are relatively high and I think there are stalls that are struggling to make enough to cover the rent.”

Peter Shirtcliffe, who runs the Burnley Memorabilia stall, said: “I’ve been back at the market for around three weeks.

“I’ve been doing okay as the club are doing very well at the moment and I’m sure the stall will do well in the run-up to Christmas.

“I’ve taken a three month lease at the moment so we will see how things go up to then.”

The council’s budget for 2013/14 sets aside around £310,000 for operating the market.

Recent figures revealed that footfall for the market is down to 26,000 visitors per week, and town centre footfall has dropped 11 per cent in the past year.

A recent casualty of the market’s decline was long- standing butchers Hartley’s, which ceased trading earlier this month.