A STALL will close at Blackburn Market today – the third in less than a month to disappear.

Alan Taylor will pack up his Spuds n Puds Sarsaparilla stall, creating another empty space at the front of the retail hub.

In the past four weeks the market has lost the Don’t Walk Pasta Bar and the large Sugar Rush Pick and Mix counter, near the main entrance from Church Street, has moved.

But Blackburn with Darwen Council bosses have stressed two new stalls have opened and more are on the way. Recent additions are The Korean Grub Club and Hair by Nicky.

Markets manager Clare Turner said a new bathroom showroom and cup-cake stall would soon be opening and negotiations with two other potential traders are well-advanced. She also revealed talks had started with a possible new tenant for the Sugar Rush stall after owner Ray Dixon consolidated his operation at his recently upgraded main outlet near the food court.

In January, the Lancashire Telegraph revealed one-third of Blackburn Market’s 126 stalls were empty, many on an aisle near the main entrance.

Since then Mrs Turner has launched a recruitment drive including a £15 a week taster offer for potential traders.

Mr Dixon said: “I just decided to bring the pick and mix to my main stall as the customers would follow it here. It was doing well, as is the business in general. I wouldn’t have invested in improving this stall if it wasn’t.”

Danny Moffet, owner of Butler’s Family Restaurant, said: “I am 100 per cent concerned about losing three more prominent stalls.

“The rent and service charges in the market are too high for the town. The council are always promising improvements to the market but we are still waiting.”

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Cllr Phil Riley, the council’s regeneration boss, said: “Traders come and go which is no surprise if you look at what has happened to town centres and the high street nationwide. But we have some very successful and well-established traders and are looking at what we can do to improve Blackburn Market, including changing its layout to improve footfall.”

Fruit and veg stall owner Scott Stewart said: “Stallholders coming and going is the way it is. Compared to the dead last six months of the old market, the new one is superb.”

Sean Son, from Korean Grub Club, said: “It’s going well. I’m really glad I came.”