Store revamp forces market to move

MARKET traders at Felixstowe are being forced to leave their site for three months while the town centre co-op properties are given a £1 million-plus revamp.

MARKET traders at Felixstowe are being forced to leave their site for three months while the town centre co-op properties are given a £1 million-plus revamp.

The East of England Co-operative Society says that during the work it will not be possible to have the stalls for the Thursday market on the forecourt of Great Eastern Square or on the railway platform at the rear of the shopping centre.

Traders are not happy with the situation and can see little hope of an alternative site being found for the market while the work is taking place.

David Downes, of Henley Road, Ipswich, who has run the fruit and veg stall for the past 23 years, said: “We have been in talks with the Co-op and they have been very helpful to us and have assured us that the market can return to its site in three months' time when the work is complete.

“It will cause problems for the traders in the meantime and we cannot deny that.

“We have mortgages and mouths to feed - we are not hobbyists, this is our living.

Most Read

“We do have stalls at other markets on other days and most people do four or five days so this could mean up to a quarter of their income being lost.

“It is not possible to just go and join another market on the Thursday because markets have rules and principles and if, for example, they have a grocery stall already they will not allow another.”

The town council had been very supportive and sympathetic but there were few other pieces of spare land in the town centre where a market could go.

The East of England Co-operative Society said it would be investing more than £1m in refurbishing and upgrading its Great Eastern Square complex.

As part of the improvement work the Solar supermarket will receive a complete refurbishment, as will the pharmacy and optical departments on Hamilton Road, the Home Store will receive a makeover, and the petrol forecourt in High Road West will be re-branded.

Work is expected to start on March 31. The market traders will have to move temporarily to allow scaffolding to be put up and enable the work to be carried out safely.

“We are extremely grateful to the market traders for their co-operation in vacating the site to enable this much needed work to be done. We will issue further information about our plans in the near future,” said a company spokeswoman.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk