More traders voice disappointment about council's decision to relocate Northampton Market to car park

"It's going to be a mini Las Vegas, because the council doesn't want retail in the town it just wants entertainment, gambling and drinking."

By Logan MacLeod
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 5:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 5:03 pm

Market traders and shoppers are furious after being told stalls will be moved to a car park on the edge of Northampton town centre for up to two years.

West Northamptonshire Council has identified Commercial Street car park, alongside the Carlsberg Roundabout, as their preferred site for the market once an £8.4million revamp of the Market Square gets under way in August.

Councillors insist the move will enable the whole market to be kept together.

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Elliott Jones, whose family have been on the market for more than 100 years, disagrees with the decision

This newspaper went down to the Market Square on Wednesday morning (February 23) to ask traders what they think of the plans.

VIDEO: Veteran trader, Fitzy, slams council's decision to relocate Northampton Market to 'death row' car park on edge of town centre Mick Andreoli, who has been selling fruit and vegetables on the square since 1969, said he thinks the town is finished.

The 72-year-old said: "It's going to be a mini Las Vegas, because the council doesn't want retail in the town it just wants entertainment, gambling and drinking. That's all very well for the council because it's revenue, but it's going to destroy society as I know it in Northampton. I think Northampton, as we knew it, is finished.

"It's all about the council getting revenue, because that's all it is interested in, at all costs. It is just not interested in the people of Northampton.

Fitzy and his son at their fruit and vegetable stall in the Market Square. Photo: Logan MacLeod

"I'm sorry to see the town being destroyed the way it is, because it is being pulled apart piece by piece, I've watched this over the last 40 years. The town was a beautiful town and it could still be a lovely town.

"This town is so shopper unfriendly, it's unbelievable. They have no intention of ever bringing the traders back here. Their intention is to lose the market and turn it into an area for entertainment, a mini Las Vegas."

A 77-year-old woman buying fruit and veg from Mick said she thinks the decision is "disgusting."

She said: "I've been shopping here since I was five years old, I am now 77. I think it's disgusting. I don't think the council has consulted the people of Northampton.

Nick, who has been running M&G Butchers for 20 years on the market, disagrees with the decision. Photo: Logan MacLeod

"I don't think I'll be going down to Commercial Street, it's not a nice area, it's a long walk. You've lost the market completely now.

"The market is going to turn into a student place. There's going to be bars and clubs, there's going to be nothing for the elderly. I think the council has completely destroyed Northampton. I'm really upset."

Elliott Jones, of Tony Jones Florist, said his family has been trading on the market for more than 100 years but is now questioning if this is the end.

He said: "I'm a third generation trader, my family has been on the market for more than 100 years. It's absolutely scurrilous. It's a disgrace. We've had no communication throughout this whole process.

Lug Singh, who has been running a mobile phone stall for 18 years on the market, disagrees with the decision. Photo: Logan MacLeod

"We've been led to believe we'd be able to stay on the market during the works at the start, so we were all on board, that then changed half way through with the council saying it couldn't afford it, so now we have all got to move. They have not considered the options of all individual traders, because all businesses are different.

"We sell perishable goods. We are expected to go and stand on a different location and start a new business, really? If we don't sell the product, we have to bin the product.

"We were hoping to get something a bit nearer the market but the council has completely overlooked that and disregarded that totally. We feel really let down and don't know what's going to happen in the future.

"My family have been here more than 100 years, is this the end? It feels like it. And it's a real shame because there are some really good businesses here.

"We serve a lot of people. And the people of Northampton will miss us. What's going to happen is they are all going to go to supermarkets. What about supporting independent businesses? I thought the government wants us to embrace smaller, independent businesses, not put them out of business."

Pete Cartwright, who has been running a greetings card stall for 25 years, said the decision will be a "complete disaster."

Pete Cartwright, who has been on the market for 25 years, disagrees with the decision. Photo: Logan MacLeod

The 54-year-old said: "We have no alternative but to leave. It's not a trading position anyone can survive on. There's no consideration to the market traders.

"The council has lost the Fish Market, lost Cattle Market, now it's getting rid of the retail market. This Conservative council is totally against any markets within Northampton whatsoever.

"Nobody will survive down Commercial Street for more than three months. The grant was supposed to help market traders, how come it's putting everyone out of business?

"I would have liked to have seen full consultation, a lot more consideration to market traders, and a lot more consideration to the people who live in Northampton, most of which totally disagree with this project.

"It's the same people spending the taxpayers' money and wasting it yet again. It's going to become a complete disaster. It'll empty the town even further than it is.

"The council should be offering us compensation."

Dave Dunkley, who works at Hung Vo fruit and Veg, said the decision is "not fair at all."

The trader said: "I don't understand why we have got to be put down TK Maxx away from the town centre itself. It could possibly ruin our business by moving us down there. Why weren't we given the choice to stay here or be given compensation so we can get by and then come back when it's all refurbished? We had none of that. I just think it's so, so unfair.

"This market has been here for hundreds of years, at one time it was one of the best, thriving markets in the country. Take a look around now, it's empty.

"We just aren't happy with what the council is doing. Our busiest time of year [August] and it is moving us to somewhere we where have to establish ourselves. It's not fair at all.

"They should have let us continue here. We're not car park traders, we're market traders."

Lug Singh, who has been running a mobile phone stall for 18 years, said two years is 'too long' to wait for the refurbishment to be finished.

The 37-year-old said: "The market's already dead. We are already struggling down here. When they move us down to Commercial Street it's going to be hard. It's going to be hard for elderly people to get down there.

"We don't really want to move. We'd love to stay where we are.

"Two years is too long to wait. We don't know where we are going to end up. A free car park is no good to us. What are we going to do with a free car park? They should sort something else."

Click here to see the council's explanation in full as to why it decided to move the market.

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