THE DAYS of empty stalls on a Darwen market could soon be over if a specially designed rescue package is successful.

Blackburn Borough Council is putting together an action plan aimed at boosting the number of traders on Darwen Market Arcade.

Councillors drafted the scheme after talking to local people who use the market. The survey of more than 100 market users showed that shoes, quality clothing, books and toy stalls were at the top of people's shopping lists.

Crafts and antique stalls were also suggested as possible new additions to the market, especially if they had a Darwen theme.

Councillor Gail Barton, chair of the Council's Development Services Committee, said: "We aim to do all we can to rejuvenate Darwen market and our experience shows that perhaps the best way to start was to get ideas from the people who use it."

The Council also has plans to re-decorate the Arcade, improve signs for the market in the near future and arrange special rent concessions for new and existing traders until there are no empty stalls left.

Arcade trader Nigel Rostron of Rostron's Security Services has welcomed the rescue package.

He said: "At the moment seven of the ten stalls in the Arcade are empty and many passers-by think we are closed."

Refurbishment is about ten years overdue. The place has been left to deteriorate and to attract quality traders, quality facilities are desperately needed."

Potential traders for the goods which have been highlighted by shoppers should ring the markets office on 585357.

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