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Heartbroken traders react to controversial plans to redevelop town’s market place

PUBLISHED: 17:38 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:20 11 October 2018

Melanie Wilson owner of Barrie's Tea Stall which has been on the market since 1950. Picture: Joseph Norton

Melanie Wilson owner of Barrie's Tea Stall which has been on the market since 1950. Picture: Joseph Norton

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Traders on the historic Great Yarmouth market have described their heartbreak at the council’s controversial plans to redevelop the market place.

Christine Nichols-George and Darran Nichols-George of Nichols seafood. Picture: Joseph NortonChristine Nichols-George and Darran Nichols-George of Nichols seafood. Picture: Joseph Norton

On Tuesday, Great Yarmouth Borough Council announced proposals for a £2.7m redevelopment which would see 36 new single and double stall units installed under a new “architecturally-striking” market canopy.

The council claim the new facilities will make the market “fit for the 21st century”.

Stallholders have accused the council of showing a lack of compassion and messing with their livelihoods.

Melanie Wilson, 45, who owns Barrie’s Tea Stall said she couldn’t sleep on Tuesday night after she heard about the plans.

Mrs Wilson said: “I’m heartbroken, the council have shown no compassion whatsoever. I can’t believe the council are proposing this after seeing all of the negativity surrounding it. The business has been in my family since 1950 and this is like losing my Dad all over again.

“All of my customers have heard about it and are very concerned. If the proposals go ahead the market and its stalls will lose their individuality and heritage. We’ll just become like every other market.”

Council leader for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Graham Plant, believes the meeting they had with traders on Tuesday night helped to identify problems “which need to be looked at”.

Mr Plant said: “I think everybody got out of the meeting what they wanted to. There are still traders who don’t want anything to happen to the market which isn’t an option.

“We will of course deal with individual issues and continue talking and liaising with them but they have to be reasonable.”

Christine Nichols-George owns Nichols seafood alongside her husband Darran. The stall has been on the market for 72 years after being passed down the family through her Grandfather.

She said: “We’re all for updating the market but like a lot of traders we’ve spent thousands of pounds on equipment which is bespoke fitting. Now we’re going to lose the stall and have to rent new units from the council. It isn’t right.

“This is our livelihoods and we depend on it for income, they shouldn’t be messing with it like this. I’ve seen stallholders in tears because of these proposals. It is awful.”

The plans will be considered by the council next Tuesday with the aim of the new market opening in spring 2020. During the redevelopment traders will be moved onto a temporary site on the Market Square.

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