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‘Left behind’ market fruit and veg stall lays off staff

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: December 03, 2012

Daren Ritchie and John Meakin

Comments (24)

A MARKET stall in Burton has had to lay off two employees after it was ‘left behind’ when other stalls moved to Station Street.

AJ Taylors fruit and vegetable stall was one of the few businesses told to stay in the Market Place but owners say takings are down 40 per cent since the ice rink arrived.

Owners Daren Ritchie and Jon Meakin have been trading there for 14 years and say they have never known business to be so bad.

The area is fenced off behind the new ice rink in the Market Square leading shoppers to believe there is no market left and everything has been transferred to Station Street.

There is also a funfair — which had no customers when the Mail visited at noon on Friday.

Mr Meakin said: “When they moved the market to Station Street they [the council] just left us behind. There has been no advertising to say we are still here.

“People have been walking by saying they didn’t know we were still here because the ice rink has a fence behind it so people think the area is fenced off.

“We are now 40 to 45 per cent down on takings and I have already had to lay two people off because we just don’t need the staff. If it stays like this we just won’t be able to carry on.

“We want to go into Station Street but we have been told they don’t want food there. It is unfair.

“We will be given six months notice and then we can apply to go inside the market hall — but traders are already leaving the indoor market.”

Chairat Kongkasmut, owner of Favourite Thai Restaurant, in the Market Place, is also worried about his business, saying: “It is so bad now. We had five people last night, usually we would have about 20.

“I am worried abut the business failing.

“It has been so quiet for the last two or three weeks.”

A spokesman for East Staffordshire Borough Council said: “The council opened an ice rink and funfair. This was in line with requests from local businesses to introduce a variety of events to the town centre with the intention of increasing footfall, in particular the market place region.

“The opening hours of the ongoing market place attractions are 10am to 7pm daily, therefore having potential to boost footfall during the majority of the periods that the local businesses are open.

“The early indications suggest that footfall has increased to the area, despite the recent inclement weather.

“The council has been contacted by a stallholder about their business and is happy to discuss the issues with them and suggest possible ways forward, as the authority would do with any trader.”

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  • Burton Mail  |  December 20 2012, 11:32PM

    Wake up and smell the coffee East Staffs Council! this has achieved absolutely nothing. An ice rink that nobody wants and a couple of fair rides is a total waste of a useful space. Get the market back in it's rightful place and go and take a look at your neighbours in Tamworth and see what a good market they have on a Tuesday and a Friday.

  • Burton Mail  |  December 20 2012, 9:59AM

    The council are out of touch with what this town needs. A total revamp of the existing market place, somewhere for teenagers to go at night, the encouragement of new businesses into th town and help for the traders who have been supporting Burton for a number of years. We are not a big city. We dont need an ice rink or a fun fair, just action to make our town somewhere for everyone.

  • Burton Mail  |  December 19 2012, 10:21AM

    I honestly have no idea why the council have done what they have done with the Market place. The Ice Rink and 'funfair' is pathetic. As soon as you get on the ice rink you have reached the other side, it is that small. It is an embarrassment and it has caused people to lose their livlihood...and for what?

  • Burton Mail  |  December 18 2012, 5:10PM

    Personally i have not yet seen one person using the ice rink or the rides behind it. I certanly cant afford for my children to have expensive rides on these things with how much food shopping costs these days - seriously what sort of people does this expect to attract? People being laid off work and losing businessess they have spent years and years building up for this farcical whim is ridiculos. If the council want to do something for the people, a proper bowling alley wouldnt go amis. I dont think the council even seriously considered the health and saftey implications of the rink, never mind anything else. The whole thing is flimsy and there are warnings 'not to hold onto the sides' - which is the whole point of ice skating. And then to pass the blame onto the public at large saying 'well you wanted these things' is ludicrous! I seriously think they should get rid of these stupid attractions asap and return the real market so the poor people who own stalls at least have a chance to make their living over the christmas period, and hopefully revert to full trading asap!

  • Burton Mail  |  December 17 2012, 7:11PM

    THhe Council should look to review the current situation regarding Burton market positioning as I think it has been an abject failure. The Market Stalls in station Street look out of place and whenever I have walked down the street the public just appear to be ignoring them.Please consult the Market Traders again and put the Stalls back where they belong in the Market Place I asked the Plant man opposite Paul's Cafe if there was a petition I could sign to get the Market re-instated and he said the Council had made it's choice and there was little chance of them changing it. If anyone want to starts a petition please let me know and I will sign it

  • Burton Mail  |  December 14 2012, 10:36PM

    We make a weekly trip to the market where we buy our fruit & veg, meat, fish and bread. Without the market we probably wouldn't shop in Burton. Shopping in the market is a delight. Over the years we have got to know the stallholders, so not only do we get good food at a fair price, but we also get good humoured banter too. We are keen to support local businesses, rather than faceless supermarkets, so if the market does go into decline, we'll start shopping in another town that has local food stores or stalls. As someone else posted, don't just talk, vote with your feet and support the market. Tell your friends to shop there too - they'll be pleasantly suprised with what they find.

  • Burton Mail  |  December 14 2012, 6:51PM

    Burton Market was a thriving place before this stupid idea was dumped on people. I believe 4000 people objected but still it went ahead. I used to enjoy the market but now find it is an eyesore with the empty, unused fairground. A council spokesman said footfall was up. For crying out loud, do they think we are blind.

  • Burton Mail  |  December 14 2012, 6:46PM

    "The early indications suggest that footfall has increased to the area, despite the recent inclement weather." Are these people blind as well as incompetent? The funfair is dead any time any day. The stall holders and market hall is empty. What a disaster.

  • Burton Mail  |  December 12 2012, 9:43AM

    What we need to do is show support with our feet, not with our words. The council pay no attention to what anyone says. They are hardly going to be scared about being not forgiven. These guys that stand there in all weathers, to give us Burtonians fresh fruit & veg at family affordable prices need our help and our support. Boycott the expensive, pre packed rubbish that we are forced to buy in a supermarket, go to the guys on the market, they are helpful, friendly & you will get good quality cheaper fruit & veg. If everyone that commented here actually goes & shops here, the council will have no choice. They will not win! Let them have their stupid plastic skating rink, every time I have seen the market place now it is empty. And frankly, I am embarrassed when I walk through station street, it looks like jumble sales on stilts! Lets not let this lovely fruit & veg stall be cast aside as the hotog man did...

  • Burton Mail  |  December 10 2012, 1:35PM

    The council has not listened to any views against any of the market movements this year, I hope they enjoy the view of an empty ice rink and funfair instead of the hussle and bussle of the market. These guys have supported Burton for years and brought peolpe to the market, If they call it a day then we all suffer, SUPERMARKET choice of pre packed rubbish for us all..... I for one hope they stick with it but I wouldn't blame them if they throw the towel in...