DARWEN traders have described the three-day market building as 'a horrible concrete bunker that needs pulling down'.

Carlo Ricioppo was responding to deputy council leader Tony Melia’s claims the 1975 building had been ravaged by rainwater and was 'coming to the end of its lifespan' due to 'concrete cancer'.

Mr Ricioppo, who is the three-day traders representative, hit back at those claims, but said that, in any case, the building 'needs pulling down'.

He said: "It is a horrible building. It needs replacing with a new facility to enhance the town centre.

“In the last 10 years we have got used to big open spaces like the Trafford Centre, and I think a market facelift is certainly needed.

“It would be nice to have a glass frontage to create a nicer environment for shoppers, which may boost trade. Nobody wants to shop in a concrete bunker.”

Mr Ricioppo, who sells traditional Italian food at his stall, said Coun Melia's words were irresponsible: “As deputy leader of the council, would it not be in his interest to consult with experts to find out exactly what the problem is, if indeed there is a problem at all?

“Working in the building as I do week in week out, I cannot see any evidence of the structure crumbling around me or anyone else for that matter.”

Coun Melia said he had seen a report revealing the condition of the building.

Mr Ricioppo said Coun Melia's For Darwen Party wanted a Farmers' Markets in the town centre.

But he hit back: “We have a more than an adequate offering by the six-day and three day markets for the towns folk and indeed visitiors from around the borough.”

Council bosses insist there are 'no structural issues' with the building and that they are looking at redeveloping the site.