angry traders and officials are to meet in a bid to resolve a dispute over the future siting of Sheffield’s Moor Market.
Senior councillors and markets managers will meet stallholders for talks about where the market should be relocated temporarily when work starts next year to repave the street.
Markets manager Andy Ward wrote to traders this month saying the only suitable option was to the end of The Moor outside the former Government office building now used by the council.
Stallholders fear there will not be enough business and they will have to close. They want to move to the top of Fargate - which the council has ruled out.
In his letter to traders, Mr Ward said: “The refurbishment of the upper part of The Moor is due to commence from March/April next year and it will be necessary for you to move to a new location.”
Mr Ward said the recently-repaved lower part of The Moor - which will be the new home of the stalls in the long term - will not be available because it will be partially-obstructed by hoardings while construction of the new market hall to replace Castle Market takes place in 2012/13.
He said: “The only site we could presently accommodate you is Moorfoot between Cumberland Street and the council building.
“The only alternative would be to close the market altogether.”
But traders say that the site is unsuitable because there is lack of passing trade and half of the shops at the site are closed.
Nick Shepherd, of The Humble Spud jacket potato stall, just down from Debenhams, said: “I don’t think the move is a viable option because if there is no footfall, you are not going to get customers.
“The council says there will be customers because it is moving many departments into the old Manpower building.
“But I know someone who was a trader down there years ago when it was full of Government departments and they could not make their stall pay.
“I do not think I will be able to survive the move.”
Kim Cartledge, who already has a pitch at Moorfoot, selling flowers and plants next to Cumberland Street, said: “It’s not at all busy down here and I am only surviving because I had a good summer due to the weather.
“It would be a good thing for me if the other traders moved here but shoppers would only come if it was properly promoted.”
Sheffield Council said the market needs to move while repaving takes place and there are no other suitable sites.
The authority said it is currently subsidising the Moor Market because the rent from traders is £20,000 short of the cost of management, security cleaning and electricity used.
But Sheffield Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance Coun Bryan Lodge said: “We want to work with the traders to find a solution.”