09:41 Tuesday 05 February 2013

Market stalls offered shopping centre plot

Written byBY HELEN KREFT

THE two fruit and vegetable stalls in Burton’s outdoor market have lost their battle to move into the ailing Market Hall – and instead given the option to move into an upstairs unit in The Octagon Shopping Centre.

The news means that Wendy Newitt whose Woods Fruit and Veg stall has been trading in the outdoor market for 37 years, will finish for good in August, after she received a rejection letter, and refused to transfer into the shopping centre.

She said: “I am shell shocked but I did expect it.

“I think I was unsuccessful because I specified a certain unit at the front of the hall but I wasn’t allowed to specify.

“I have been offered a place in the Octagon Centre upstairs but I wouldn’t go upstairs because it is dead, and fruit and vegetables should be outside. I didn’t want to go into the hall anyway.”

The brick built buildings, which house the fruit and vegetable stalls at the front of the market hall, dating back to the 1930s, will be bulldozed to make way for restaurants, under the new plans.

She added: “This is my 37th year on the market. When I found out (I wasn’t successful) I went home and sobbed my heart out because come August, it is finished. That is the market over.”

For the past few months, East Staffordshire Borough Council has insisted it is trying to make the market hall more viable by moving the outdoor market from the Market Place to Station Street but adding that this would not cater for food stalls. In its place, the council installed a fair ground and an ice rink which was slammed by many members of the public and surrounding businesses.

After the refurbishment of the hall, the council is hoping to fill it with pop-up stalls during the day and specialist markets and a concert or cinema venue at night.

Asked which pop-up stalls will be invited into the indoor market, the council said this was ‘sensitive information at this time’.

A spokesman for Quarterbridge Project Management Ltd (on behalf the council) said: “All applications were reviewed on a commercial basis and in line with a well balanced market offer, identifying sound business plans and highlighting businesses that wish to expand their customer base following the redevelopment of the market. Applicants are supplied feedback if requested and any rejected application can be resubmitted after feedback has been provided.

“The market will contain vibrant businesses that offer a wide range of services to a large demographic and the current successful applicants are the foundation to this future market.”

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