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Trader's fears despite market makeover

PUBLISHED: 19:35 05 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2010

Market traders in Hadleigh have settled into their newly refurbished home amid fears that – despite the £100,000 makeover – business under the canvass would continue to struggle.

Market traders in Hadleigh have settled into their newly refurbished home amid fears that – despite the £100,000 makeover – business under the canvass would continue to struggle.

Babergh District Council has extended and enhanced the Market Place in the town as part of the Hadleigh Conservation Area Partnership scheme.

New paving stones have been laid, the lay-by improved and the market area extended. However only five stalls holders turned up for the first day of trading on Friday and they spoke of their continued fears for the survival of their trade.

"At the moment it seems okay but it's early days yet," said fruit and vegetable stall holder Melvin Murton.

"The response so far has been good and we can only hope it will build from here." The market – which specialises in quality foods – was caught in a "catch 22 situation" he explained.

As more and more people turned away from the under-the-canvass shopping in favour of larger supermarkets, traders gave up on the business and the market slipped further into decline.

"I just hope we can encourage more traders to come here," added Mr Murton.

Gary Aitins of East Produce, a company which specialises in quality sausages and game, echoed Mr Murton when he said: "We've got some more space now, all we need is a few more stalls to fill it up."

Kurt Lee of seafood specialist Crystal Waters Ltd said that he had "lost quite a lot of trade" when the market was temporarily transferred to the High Street car park. However he was pleased to be back in place in time for the start of Christmas trading, adding: "We will only be able to tell how it works out once things have settled down."

Richard Ward, conservation and design officer at Babergh District Council said: "We are pleased that the work to the Market Place has progressed on schedule and to a very high standard.

"This has enabled us to move the market back onto the Market Place as scheduled and agreed."

The Market Place enhancement and improvements are part of the Hadleigh Conservation Area Partnership Scheme.

The scheme is largely funded with contributions from Tesco in connection with the extension of their store at Copdock, money from the Heritage Lottery Fund and funding from Babergh.


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