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Ipswich Market - can it survive?

PUBLISHED: 18:00 22 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:13 03 March 2010

MORE than 800 years of tradition in Ipswich could come to an end within weeks - that's the stark warning today from the town's market traders.

They fear being forced out of business because of a lack of support from the borough council.

MORE than 800 years of tradition in Ipswich could come to an end within weeks – that's the stark warning today from the town's market traders.

They fear being forced out of business because of a lack of support from the borough council.

The market has traded from the Civic Centre staff car park since it was moved there as a "temporary measure" 18 years ago.

But it had been in decline for almost two decades before then – the victim of an earlier attempt to modernise the town.

When the market moved to its current site in 1984, up to 74 traders operated there. Now that figure has slumped to just nine – with only seven on Saturdays.

"This is the wrong place, there aren't enough customers to make it worthwhile for many people – they go to other towns instead," said fishmonger Mike Youngs, chairman of the co-operative that runs the market.

"We need to be somewhere more central, like the Cornhill or Carr Street. There isn't enough passing trade here and people are going to stop coming to Ipswich."

The council wants the market traders to move to a new site which would be part of the Mint Quarter development between Carr Street and Tacket Street.

But the traders don't think they'll be around by the time the Mint Quarter is completed – work to start the centre is still some way off.

"We can't wait that long. There will be no market within weeks unless we can move," said Mr Youngs.

Ipswich council's economic development spokesman Philip Smart said market traders had been threatening to pull out of the town for years – but a consultant employed by the borough felt the market did have a viable future.

It was not possible to move it to the Cornhill for legal reasons and there was not enough space there for the market as well as the craft market that already operates there.

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