Traders could lose their pitches

Market stall holder Andrew Long isconcerned about the future of the market.
Market stall holder Andrew Long isconcerned about the future of the market.

Traders on Lancaster’s Charter Market have been told to reduce their pitch spaces as part of the refurbishment of the city centre.

Andrew and Lynn Long, who run a craft and jewellery stall at Horseshoe Corner, say city council officers have told them their pitch must be cut from 9m to 4.5m to allow for a fire engine turning circle.

Other pitches are also expected to be reduced to fit in with a new layout as part of the Square Routes scheme.

Mr Long said he is worried it could force him off the market altogether.

He said: “They are insisting on reducing the pitch and we just can’t trade on 4.5m. It’s the best pitch on the market and we have lost it. We pay more money per square foot per day than the shops yet we are treated like this.

“Other stalls will also have to move because there’s no guarantee that anyone will get the pitch they want.”

Mrs Long added: “Some of the stalls have been positioned in front of shop windows so we expect to see some complaints from the shops about that.

“Overall the outcome of the proposal is not as bad as we expected but there are still likely to be people losing their pitches or having to alter the size of them.”

Mark Davies, Lancaster City Council’s chief officer (environment), said: “Cabinet member with responsibility for markets, Coun Jon Barry, and officers visited every stall on the Charter Market and shared with them the first draft of how the market might be laid out once the latest phase of the Square Routes works have been completed.

“Traders have been asked to provide any comments they have by September 10. At the same time we will also be asking shop based businesses for their comments.

“Once all comments and feedback has been received, it is our intention to revise the plan and produce a more detailed plan showing where stallholders might be located.

“As Mr Long points out it is important that emergency vehicles have access on market days and we will ensure this in our plans.

“Clearly it is important that the layout of the market takes account of the needs of both market traders and shop-based businesses.

“With a bit of give and take we think it will be possible to achieve this.”