08:00 Wednesday 13 February 2013

Trader 'point score' anger


INDOOR traders from Burton market have issued an appeal for groups and individuals in the town to stop using their livelihood as a ‘tool to score points’.

Two traders have hit back at criticism from people opposing the news that the indoor market stallholders will move to the first floor of the Octagon Shopping Centre.

Both traders say they are looking forward to moving upstairs and believe foot traffic will increase when the units are occupied.

However, the fruit and vegetable stalls have refused to move to the shopping centre, while the butchers will move to New Street.

Liz, from Birds of a Feather Model Shop, said: “We can’t wait to move upstairs to the Octagon Centre. We are really looking forward to the chance to expand our business and open more hours. It’s a win-win for us. There are various people claiming to represent the views of the market traders but I wouldn’t know who they are. I couldn’t point out Bill Ganley in a room so why he thinks he represents my views I don’t know. The same can be said about the Civic Society. We have seen them scuttle in a few times to take a picture of an empty stall but they have never stayed around to speak to us or ask what we think.”

Harry, from HK Celebrations, added: “We are really looking forward to it. Obviously we are nervous because we see the upstairs of the Octagon Centre at the moment and it is quiet, but we realise it’s quiet because there is nothing there until we move in. I think if we have a good selection of traders upstairs it will give us a chance to grow our business and open more hours. We have never been asked if we would want representation from any of the groups that claim to be representing us and all this negativity is damaging to the market and to the town.”

Paul Howard, Burton town centre manager, said: “We have a good relationship with many of the market traders and I hope they feel comfortable enough in telling me the truth about their hopes and fears for the future of the Market Hall. I have to say that the recent reports do not seem to match with the feedback we are receiving from many of the people operating a business within the hall. Yes, people are anxious about the change but I feel that optimism for the future and a willingness to embrace the change and make the most of it would be a more accurate summation than some of the doom and gloom reports we have seen.

“Most of the traders I have spoken to have told me they are generally feeling quite positive about the move. They realise that the Octagon Centre generates a substantial footfall, many times over what is achieved at the current location and we can back that up with hard evidence. Anyone who claims different needs to spend a little time at the market and have a count up of the numbers of people entering the building as I have done in the past. I spoke to five traders last week and not one of them was aware that their views were being made for them.”

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