Flea market traders in uproar over Preston Market plans

Photo Neil Cross'The old Preston Fish Market - the smaller of the two market canopies in Preston, is getting a �500,000 facelift before work starts on the rest of the Markets Quarter
Photo Neil Cross'The old Preston Fish Market - the smaller of the two market canopies in Preston, is getting a �500,000 facelift before work starts on the rest of the Markets Quarter
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SECOND hand dealers claim they are getting second class treatment in the revamp of Preston Market.

Car boot traders, who pack onto the outdoor flea market on Tuesdays and Thursdays, say some will be forced out altogether when the new indoor emporium is built.

“The council say there will only be 60 pitches instead of more than 100 that are in use now,” said bric-a-brac stallholder Andrew Long.

“Those pitches are going to be smaller – just three metres by three metres – and we have been told we won’t be allowed to have our vans along the edge. As far as a lot of the traders are concerned, it is going to be a disaster for us.”

Preston City Council unveiled the shape of things to come last week when it published an artist’s impression of how the new indoor market will look when it is built on land which is currently used for outdoor stalls. The old market hall, built more than 40 years ago, will be demolished, along with the adjacent multi-storey market car park.

An entertainment complex will take their place.

Andrew Long revealed: “This market is usually pretty full up on a Tuesday and Thursday. Car boots are by far the most popular on that market. Like a lot of other traders I feel we are being treated badly by the council – not the elected councillors, but by the officers who don’t seem to care that this is our living.

“I need my van by the stall because I am constantly getting stuff out and putting stuff away. The new sized pitches are nowehere near big enough. And we estimate that up to 40 traders will be forced out because there won’t be enough room for us all.

“Many of our customers maybe can’t afford to shop elsewhere and they are going to be excluded if we are put out of business.”

A spokesman for Preston Council was unavailable.