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Traders angry at market revamp

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:02 22 October 2010

Stallholders have reported a string of problems at the new-look Norwich Market.

Stallholders have reported a string of problems at the new-look Norwich Market.

Market traders in Norwich reacted with scepticism to promises to rectify problems reported since the refurbishment of their stalls.

Market traders in Norwich reacted with scepticism to promises to rectify problems reported since the refurbishment of their stalls.

Next week contractors behind the £4.6m scheme will return to the market after Norwich City Council wrote to stallholders assuring them all issues would be addressed.

Since the market reopened in March members of the National Market Traders' Federation complained of malfunctioning security shutters, poor standards of cleanliness and other faults including leaks.

Gareth Butcher, chairman of the federation's Norwich committee, branded the revamp a "disaster" and said the flaws gave "rise to a certain degree of anxiety about the long-term maintenance prospects of the site".

MPs Charles Clarke and Ian Gibson had called on the council to meet traders and Dr Gibson said he was pleased workmen would be available to talk. "It's now up to the traders to make sure that the complaints they have are rectified and I'm sure they will."

But traders are unsure how effective the intervention will be. Barry Read, who runs a rug stall, said he has had stock damaged by leaks and is concerned about shutter security. He said: "It is good that they are going to make themselves available but I would question how much they can put right in a week.

"There are some fundamental problems, not least with the quality of the stalls, and I would doubt any amount of tinkering can put that right.

"We still have serious doubts about the shutters and they are only guaranteed for a year after which we will become responsible for any costs. This is something we are very concerned about."

Lois Denny, who runs Louie's clothing, said: "We will have to wait and see but we have been complaining for months so I'm not entirely confident they'll solve all the problems."

The week will involve a vacant stall being used to demonstrate the correct operation of the roller shutters; further repairs to faulty awnings; and repairs to other complaints.

Mark Butler, head of property at the council, said he hoped the week would allow all involved to put the problems behind them.

He would be happy to meet traders shortly after next week to discuss any further complaints, he added.


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