MARKET Hall traders in Accrington are pushing for compensation - possibly reduced rents - for any loss of business during development of the new town centre.

But council officers are advising councillors it would be premature to look at compensation for traders at this stage in whatever form.

A petition signed by 33 market hall businesses will be presented to Hyndburn environmental health committee on tomorrow.

The petition expresses concern about disruption and likely loss of trade, suggests compensation for the redevelopment period, and urges regular talks.

Traders say they accept that both the developers and the council will try to keep disruption to a minimum, but they fear some loss of business is inevitable.

The traders' petition adds: "If this proves to be the case, surely some form of compensation would be fair, possibly in the form of reduced rents for the period of redevelopment." A report to councillors says it is important to separate any perceived drop in trading due to the recession from the effects of the proposed development.

Rental levels are to be reviewed in the near future, taking into account all relevant factors including the current trading situation and comparisons with other markets.

Traders have been assured by the council that existing dialogue will continue to keep them informed of all developments and market issues.

Work on the market square development is hoped to start next spring and the whole scheme should be completed before the end of 1997.

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.