Traders’ concerns over redevelopment of the market place

Julie Alexander is worried that the redevelopment may leave her out of pocket Pictur

Julie Alexander is worried that the redevelopment may leave her out of pocket Picture: Jacob Massey - Credit: Archant

Traders have voiced their concerns about how the redevelopment of the market place in Great Yarmouth could affect their businesses.

The third generation is now operating Jack's Flower Stall in the market place Pic

The third generation is now operating Jack's Flower Stall in the market place Picture: Jacob Massey - Credit: Archant

The historic market in the town centre is to be modernised as part of the Town Centre Masterplan with the aim of improving business in the area.

The redevelopment could see traders renting new units, but there are no formal plans in place as of yet and traders are being consulted by design teams and council officers.

But many traders are opposed to the suggestion of moving the market further towards the minster or giving up their current units.

Julie Alexander, who runs Julie’s, said the possible impact of the redevelopment had kept her up at night - and some of her loyal customers showed their support with a rallying rendition of “we shall not be moved”.

She said: “There are 32 stalls here and we all have the same concerns.

“I can’t afford to install new stainless steel and it will be harder to sell the business too because it will be worth less without the stall.

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“It’s hard enough to make a living at the moment and this could put us out of pocket.”

Sophie Howlett is the third generation to run Jack’s Flower Stall, which was started by her husband’s granddad.

She said: “It does need updating and cleaning up and we know there are no plans so far, but we are scared of things progressing too far.

“Our units are assets and they are designed for our individual needs. We don’t want to just get rid of them and start over with stalls that they say might be smaller and not fit enough stock. Some people still owe money on their units.”

But Great Yarmouth Borough Council have attempted to allay concerns, stating that the redevelopment could add value to businesses.

A spokesman said: “The redevelopment of the Market Place for the 21st century is a key project of the Town Centre Masterplan, which aims to boost this central area as a place where more people choose to live, work, visit and invest.

“At this stage, there are no formal plans: the design team and council officers are engaging with the market traders and others around initial design ideas, and working to ensure the redevelopment is managed sympathetically to ensure traders have the option to continue trading during the works.

“The core value of the market traders’ businesses is not in their units but in their customer base and in themselves as individuals and in their families, which can be transferred to the brand new units.

“We would work with market traders to seek to accommodate their equipment within the brand new units. Through redeveloping the Market Place, this would add to the value of their businesses and help ensure they are viable into the future.

“As with the model used at markets around the country, future stalls would be rented to traders, so the overall look and feel of the redevelopment could be easily maintained into the future. However, there would be important flexibility and individual choice around stalls, with traders able to choose from a range of options around fit-out to meet their needs, and from a colour palette to meet their preferences.

“The move from owned to rented units would not affect business security, as the traders already have lease agreements with the council for being in the Market Place.

“Once the final design is agreed, we will be talking to each individual trader about their own circumstances and aspirations around how they wish to proceed. We would hope that all traders would want to be part of the redeveloped market, adding value to their business.”