Angry traders are calling on Wakefield Council to re-think a trial at Castleford’s outdoor market which has seen the number of stalls available slashed.
The experiment has seen the pitches reduced from 54 to 38, while traders are being forced to face their stalls onto what they say is the quieter side of Carlton Street.
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Brought in last week, it has led to some traders wanting to terminate their contract, while others say it could seriously damage to trade in the run-up to Christmas.
Umar Farook, who has had his pitch selling clothes for more than two decades, said: “The majority of traders did not want it like this, they accepted a trial but not this close to Christmas.
“I can see why the council has done it, it looks good on paper that there are fewer empty stalls, but some have now been pushed down side streets where there is no trade.
“Some have said now that they won’t be coming back.”
Trader Paul Whitaker, added: “It’s a farce. They are turning traders away - we did not want it this way and neither did the public.”
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Michelle Clark, who has run her clothes pitch for 34 years, said: “I can see why they have done it, it’s not all negative because I think it looks better but why have they done it before Christmas?”
Wakefield Council service director Julie Russell said: “In recent years the number of traders has fallen, so we are trialling a new layout which brings existing stalls closer together to make the market more visually appealing and easier to navigate for shoppers.”
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She said they consulted with the traders, shopper and businesses and received overall positive results. She added that most traders have remained close to their previous location, and will continue to work with them and listening feedback.
But with a restricted number of stalls, she is urging casual traders to book in advance.