The opening of Sheffield’s new multi-million pound market is set to be delayed – because traders need more time to get their stalls ready, the council says.
Sheffield Council confirmed it had offered a new opening date of November 25, rather than November 18, because ‘traders have requested additional time to get stalls set up’.
But traders say the change came after the council cut from two weeks to one the time they will have to fit-out stalls after The Moor building is completed.
Fruit and veg trader Ian Bingham, vice chair of Castle Market Traders’ Federation, said: “We had a letter saying we’d be in on the 18th and we’d get two weeks.
“Then they moved the goalposts and said we would only have a week. It just isn’t enough.
“The council changed our fit-out time to a week because they said no-one was allowed on site until they had the electrics and everything sorted.
“We haven’t gone to the council and said we want to move in on the 25th – we’ve been told it’s the only way it can be done with two weeks .
“We want to get in there as soon as possible.”
Mark Holmes, who runs Punch Stores selling bread and confectionery, added: “If there is anything wrong with the units then one week is not enough to change it.
“We want it to be right so the first experience customers have at our new stall is ‘wow’.”
The council says the market building – which includes a glass-covered arched entrance hall, and which will have around 190 stalls on one floor – is on schedule for completion on November 11.
The original two-week fit-out period was said to be based on traders carrying out all work - from electrics to setting up stalls.
A single contractor has now been brought in to do work such as electrics, plumbing, sinks and water heaters rather than many contractors.
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development, added: “Our traders have requested additional time to get their stalls set up and ready so we have offered them the opening date of November 25.
“I’m sure people can appreciate the traders want their stalls to be perfect for the opening.
“By taking this extra week to get things right we can be sure shoppers will have the best experience from day one.
“We are aware of the declining year-on-year footfall at Castle Market, which highlights the need for a new market and is why we are working with traders to make the transition to the new market as smooth as possible.
“Castle Market is still open for business and will be offering fresh food and goods at excellent value for money until the Saturday before the new market opens.”
Trade falling as stallholders face move costs
Stallholders met last night to discuss problems which are leaving them ‘struggling to survive’ at the current Castle market site.
Traders say 11 units, including a cafe, have closed or are shutting up shop this weekend and customers are also dwindling.
They urged shoppers to continue supporting them during the transition to the new Moor market building .
Fruit and veg trader Mick Cull, also chairman of the Castle Market branch of the National Market Traders Federation, said: “It is terrible .
“Traders have got to survive nine or ten weeks until the new market opens and spend many thousands of pounds kitting stalls out.
“At the moment we are losing money because the trade has disappeared - why we can’t explain.”