Change to market met with outrage

Ilkeston Market Place stall owners are unhappy with the proposed plans to reaarange the market right before Christmas.
Ilkeston Market Place stall owners are unhappy with the proposed plans to reaarange the market right before Christmas.

Market traders in Ilkeston are furious about changes that are being made which they say they were not consulted about.

A number of stall holders contacted the Advertiser about the changes that will see their stalls moved to completely different positions and made smaller in the new year.

Phil Wood, who has run a stall on the market for many years, said: “Erewash Borough Council is going to move all the markets stalls and reposition them. It’s something to do with improving accessibility.

“There are 100 traders here who are all against the layout. There was no consultation and the council is refusing to come and consult with us.”

He said the new layout- originally set to be implemented on Thursday November 6 - will not work.

It will see the stalls placed in blocks of four, facing down Bath Street or up South Street, at the twice-weekly market, which is held on Thursdays and Saturdays.

He added: “They don’t care if they put us out of businesses. We have already lost the town centre shops, now we are losing the market.”

Another trader, who did not wish to be named, said the proposals were not something that the stall holders would have agreed to.

He said: “The stall layouts are ridiculous - there will be someone right behind you.” He said it would also result in their rent being increased.

Another trader said he had been given a position in ‘no man’s land’.

“They are messing with our livelihoods,” he said. “Ilkeston is going downhill. We want to be left where we are.”

The traders said they had been told by the council that an online petition into the changes had been carried out, with the outcome showing that people were in favour. The stall holders, however, said they had not even known about the petition.

Steve Birkinshaw, head of planning and regeneration at Erewash Borough Council, said: “The recent consultation on our markets strategy showed that 72 per cent of customers and 67 per cent of traders who responded supported a change in the layout of the market to improve its appearance and accessibility.

“The new layout has been designed to ensure a more presentable and more welcoming market place and is all part of our commitment to developing a strong and thriving market.

“Council staff have been explaining the proposals to traders over the past three weeks, including inviting stall holders to choose where in the new layout they want to stand.

“The layout is designed around the council’s existing standard-sized pitch for £10, which is among the lowest market fees in the country.

“We know, however, that the traders feel it would be wrong to make the changes ahead of the busy run-up to the festive season. Consequently we are deferring introduction of the new layout to the new year.

“We are working hard, along with our partners, in the drive to regenerate Ilkeston town centre, including through improvements to our historic market.”

Market-goer Julia Riddick said: “The public do not want this change. Facing north?

“Who on earth dreams up these daft ideas? You really couldn’t make it up.”