One of Chester’s best known market stalls is to cease trading after 60 years, but the traders who run it claim they did not jump, but were pushed. The s ta l lholder s at family-run business, Jim’s Haberdashery, say they were told to leave by WMC Retail, who are managing the city’s new market development. The Chester Northgate

project wi l l t ransform the northwest quarter of Chester city centre into a new shopping, leisure and residential area. The development of open

shopping streets, parades and plazas will include a new department store along with a mix of large and small shops, a multi-screen cinema, cafés, bars and restaurants and a new, reinvigorated market hall.

Annie Hall, whose family

has been running Jim’s Haberdashery stall since the current Chester Market opened fifty years ago, said WMC told them they “didn’t fit the criteria” for the new development and that they were given no choice. “We would have kept going

but the decision was taken out of our hands,” she told local media. “Although the market is not what it used to be and it’s never as busy as it used to be in the past, it is still a huge wrench for us to leave.” Jim’s Haberdashery has occupied the same stall for 50 years, and Annie began working on the stall as a Saturday girl, turning full time after leaving school. “Over the years we have

met so many nice people and made some good friends, so yes I am upset to leave them and the people of Chester,” she said. “I think a lot of people will

miss us and I’ll miss them. But things progress and you have to look to the modern world.” Annie’s mother, Mari Payne,

who at 88 is possibly one of the country’s oldest market traders, said leaving will be a shock to the system, and they haven’t even thought about what they will do with all their

ISSN 2057–6781 The price of redevelopment

free time when the stall closes on September 30. “I’ve seen kids grow up

over the years,” she said. “Parents would come with their kids and now the kids have grandchildren. It’s been a joy to serve the people of Chester.” A Cheshire West

and Ches ter Counc i l spokesperson told local media: “Now that we have a clear idea of the intentions of the market traders, we are working with those who will relocate to the new market. “This has included a series

of workshops to help them through a difficult process and we will be issuing layout designs for the new market during late August. “We have offered those

who have been unsuccessful the opportunity to use our market experts to improve their business plans and the option to resubmit their applications. “However, we do

understand that the move may not suit some of the traders and therefore, we have offered just seven traders a compensation package or a pitch in another council market. “By leaving in September

i t gives them a bet ter opportunity to establish a new pitch for Christmas. Any spaces will then be available for new traders to grow their business for the new market.”


Meanwhile, other Chester market traders are being given a three month “rental holiday” due to lost income caused by the closure of the old bus station and the relocation of bus services.

“Everything is going to be brilliant” in the bustling and historic city of Chester Details of the deal were

revealed by Cllr Brian Clarke, cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, in response to a question by Labour colleague Cllr Richard Beacham at a recent meeting of Cheshire West and Chester Council. Cllr Clarke said: “In recognition of the immediate challenges faced by market traders, market tenants have been offered a three month ‘rental holiday’, to provide immediate financial mitigation of the relocation of the bus exchange.” In response to claims that

the Labour administration had failed to support market traders at the point when the old bus station closed, Cllr Clarke told local media that the rental holiday option was “already in the pipeline”,

and denied it was a panic measure. He pointed out that the

council had already put in a series of measures including: • Asking private coach drivers to drop visitors off at the old bus station site;

• Developing an advertising campaign including leaf lets, newslet ter showcasing traders, radio campaign and social media activity;

• Introducing new signage to direct people to the market.

The council is also looking

at hosting events and pop-up markets in the old bus station space.

However, all initiatives will

be discussed and agreed with traders and “will not compete with the market but

Increases on hold for now

Proposed rent rises and VAT charges for traders in Wolverhampton have been put on hold after a campaign against the controversial plans.

Businesses along the city’s Cleveland Street hit out at the council after they were given letters demanding more rent and a 20 percent VAT charge with immediate effect.

Much to the relief of shopkeepers, the authority has now agreed to put the plan on ice and review it again next April. Traders had also been

angry at only being offered one year contracts, which they said made it hard for them to plan ahead. However, the city council has also said the traders will

now be offered the choice of three year contracts. Wolverhampton council

cabinet member for city economy, Cllr John Reynolds, told local media: “We very much value the contribution of these small businesses. “These are the businesses

that help give Wolverhampton its own identity and character.”

Opening Times: The Market Hall

Monday to Saturday, 8am to 5pm. Stall opening times vary. Wilko

Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm. Sunday, 10.30am to 4.30pm. T.K. Maxx

Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm. Sunday, 11am to 5pm. (Times subject to change).

will complement their offer”, with the aim of driving up footfall. Cllr Clarke added: “Northgate is a fantastic project going forward. There will be some short term issues but everything is going to be brilliant in Chester.”

Ex-United star works on Stalybridge stall

Page 10 No. 4907

INSIDE... Page 3


Stockton’s popular market gets its own guide

Page 20

Sutton market revamp is shaping up



Enjoy a wonderful shopping experience in its beautiful Victorian Covered Market, Arcade Shops and T.K. Maxx & Wilko Stores.


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