Traders have called for more early input into plans to revamp of the Preston Markets Quarter.
Architects have completed surveys on the site, meaning the company can now begin designing the multi-million pound markets project.
Preston Council has said the development of the area is its “top priority”, and said consultations with traders should begin in May.
But Norman Young, spokesman for the Market Hall indoor traders’ association, said stallholders wanted early reassurances about what was planned because the uncertainty was creating problems.
He said: “We are not against the plans – we just want assurances that we will definitely be part of it and we can trade.
“All we want is for somebody is to say ‘you will be within a building with four walls and all the amenities’ and we know then we will be able to trade and not worry.
“How many stalls will there be? We don’t even know that.”
The architects’ brief is to refurbish the 1875 market canopy, to provide new facilities for market traders and a new event space for the city.
The council is hoping to be able to submit a planning application for the project by the summer, with work starting in early 2016.
Meanwhile Keith Mitchell, manager of The Fishergate Shopping Centre, said the markets quarter plan was a significant step forward for the city. He said: “Preston Council is moving with the times by proactively refreshing its traditional market offer. All over the country you see towns and cities using a vibrant, welcoming market to entice people back into city centres and it is good to know this is a priority project for Preston Council.
We are not against the plans – we just want assurances that we will definitely be part of it and we can tradeNorman Young
“I am particularly glad the listed Victorian canopy will be the centrepiece of the new market because Preston is lucky to retain these architectural gems – they give a city its identity.
“We all face fierce competition from neighbouring cities and out-of-town retail parks, so to see the city centre being regenerated like this is a boost to us all.”
Preston Council says it will consult traders and all other stakeholders when the full details of the proposal are ready.
A spokesman said it was not trying to duck any issues.