Traders have banded together to create a new indoor market for Preston.
People with stalls at Preston’s Indoor Market have pressed ahead with plans to form a cooperative, and convert the covered market into an indoor facility, similar to the Tithebarn proposals.
Members of the market traders’ association have spent months researching and developing plans for a cooperative, ahead of a meeting with council bosses on Thursday.
Traders took their proposal to the council after it was revealed their current base was no longer ‘fit for purpose’ and would be closed, to make way for a cinema complex.
Meanwhile, Preston Coun Martyn Rawlinson who is cabinet member for resources, said the successful redevelopment of the market could spark a wider regeneration in the city.
He said: “We have made some progress with the market, but there is still the bus station, the Guildhall Arcade and the old Post Office that are problematic, so we are working our way through them. “They are all linked together, we are not treating them as separate entities.
“We cannot single one out because of the financial situation.”
Asked how a successful market scheme would impact upon the city as a whole, he replied: “Obviously, the market moving forward would help with the others.
“The economy picking up, any kind of up-turn in the economy, could change everything, but there doesn’t seem to be any signs.
“We cannot wait for that, we have waited too long for things to happen.
“We have got to be more proactive within our resources.”
Earlier in the year, Preston Council announced it would shut Preston’s Indoor Market and move the traders outside, with some stalls to be housed in the Fish Market.
Traders launched a petition against the move, which was debated at a full council meeting, and later unveiled proposals to form a cooperative with the council turn the covered market into an indoor facility.
The bid would see each trader paying thousands of pounds for a stake in the cooperative, while Preston Council would use the £2.5m it has already pledged, along with the cash generated from the sale of the current site.
Michael Clarke, who runs WB Clarke and sons butchers stall, said: “I don’t know how quickly they want to move. If they want to move dead quick, then grand, but if not, that’s also grand.
“It would be good to take our time and get it right, and everybody had time to think about what they really want.
“From that point of view, the meeting is a step in the right direction. It is definitely going to happen now.
“I think all it wants is a bit of care, so we get something we all want, rather than something half-capped.”
Preston Council leader Peter Rankin added: “We will still have to look at all the options, including our preferred options, and also the options the market traders are interested in.
“We have still got to to investigate this. All that has got to be done, and we will support them and give advice on setting up as a cooperative, which is good.
“It is our priority to help businesses set up as cooperatives.”