‘We have got nowhere to go.’ Sadness at Lowestoft market closure
- Credit: Archant
Market traders in Lowestoft are facing a bleak 2017 after being served with eviction notices.
Stall holders on the outdoor market in the town's Britten Centre were given their months notice on December 1.
The news was delivered in a letter from the centre's owners Way Shop 2 (Lowestoft) Ltd .
The company bought the centre in January and say the move is part of plans to refurbish the site.
Linda Barnes, who has run Lindy Lou's Bags for five years, said she had been reduced to tears by the news.
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She said: 'We are in limbo. I am still getting used to the news. It is a bit of a blow and I haven't stopped crying today. I have been hoping there is going to be a shop available for me to go into because I don't want to lose my job. But it has got to be the right price. The shops are an extortionate amount of money. I can't go anywhere else because I have got a family and need to be in the local area.'
Paul Denny, who runs the fish stall, said: 'We have all got regular customers come every week. We have got nowhere to go. There is already a fish van in Southwold and Beccles. And it is not worth going up to the Triangle because there is no footfall there.'
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The current owners began closing one side of the market earlier this year and there are now just five stalls left.
Sean Roden, who runs the flower stall, said traders had been told that the remaining half of the market would be retained.
Mr Roden, who is the only trader to have been offered a new pitch alongside existing stalls inside the centre, added: 'We don't know why they are taking it down. They have given us no reason.'
Centre manager Dan Poitras said the new owners were trying to improve the centre and had looked at refurbishing the entire market but had decided they couldn't afford to do it.
He said the work would involve repairs and redecoration but added that he couldn't reveal more at this stage.
He added: 'Lowestoft is a town of opportunity and that is something that we are looking forward to helping to improve'.
A statement from Way Shop 2 said: 'The Britten Centre in Lowestoft was purchased by the present landlord Way Shop 2 in January 2015. Since that date, improving the centre and the tenant mix has been a key focus for the owners.
'Terminating the market traders' licences and offering alternative accommodation where possible is an important step towards delivering a vibrant, modern retail destination in Lowestoft.
'A programme of improvement works will be carried out at the centre, demonstrating the landlord's commitment to upgrading the centre for retailers and the local community.'