TRADERS at Bolton’s outdoor market — which opened for the first time on Tuesday — have given a mixed reaction to their new home.
Some businesses are delighted with their new location and said they have already seen new faces among shoppers.
But other long-standing stallholders were moved from the indoor hall a year ago before it was revamped, were being housed in the temporary cabins and say they were allocated new stalls only days before the move.
And some traders from the old indoor hall — such as Christine’s Nightwear and Underwear and Janet’s Books — had applied for a place in the “lifestyle hall”, opened by celebrity chef Simon Rimmer on February 14, but claim they were overlooked in favour of new businesses in a competitive application process.
Janet Crook, owner of Janet’s Books, also applied for a new shuttered unit in the outdoor market and said she was “delighted” with her new position.
Ms Crook, whose stall has been at the market since 1969, added: “They told us they were refurbishing the hall and we did not know exactly how long it would be. We had to reapply to get back in and were unsuccessful.
“I’m really pleased with this stall, it’s light, double-fronted as I wanted, and I’m really looking forward to the weeks ahead.”
Nigel Palmer, a jewellery store owner from the old outdoor market, said: “It has been really good and we’ve seen a lot of new faces.
“The fact we’re so close to the new indoor hall will help us with footfall and in the summer months it will hopefully be really busy.”
But the owner of Christine’s, who did not want to be named, said the fact she could not tell her established customers where she was moving made her look “incompetent”.
She said she applied to go back inside but was still waiting on February 10, five days before she had to give up the temporary stall.
She added: “I took over this stall in October 2012 and I don’t want to lose it. I worry that we will lose a lot of good traders here, who keep the market going.”
A council spokesman said the traders were told they were getting a new shuttered unit on the outdoor market in November and that all they were waiting for was to be specifically allocated one of the eight shuttered units available.
The spokesman added: “We have kept businesses informed and these particular traders were aware they had been allocated a new shuttered unit in New Street.
“However, we couldn’t inform them about this until the units were actually in position, which was last week.”