STALLHOLDERS fear for their future — with work to demolish Farnworth Market set to begin by the end of this month.

In line with planning regulations, Bolton Council has given notice that it intends to demolish the canopy next to King Street between Monday, October 28, and Friday, November 22.

Trading will continue during the works — with businesses moved to the other two canopies.

The demolition is part of plans to develop new retail units on the site of the market.

But Steve Rawcliffe, aged 45, from Leyland, who has owned a fruit and vegetable stall in the market for 30 years, is worried the development could spell the end for his business.

He said: “It’s just shocking. I’ve always worked here. This is where I run my business and this is where people know I’m going to be.

“Now I’m being moved — it’s impossible for me to work anywhere else. I’m going to have to close my business.”

Mr Rawcliffe said his feelings were shared by other traders and Farnworth residents.

He added: “A lot of people will be upset — to be honest, they’ll be bewildered.

“I just don’t know where people will go for the same sort of service.

“In a few years, there will be a need for greengrocers like me again, but by then it’s going to be too late.”

The council has told market traders of the plans to knock down the canopy in favour of “demountable stalls” in Brackley Street or Asda’s car park.

Eventually the entire market site will be redeveloped by St Modwen into a new retail space.

Tom Nuttall, aged 54, of Nuttall’s jewellery, has worked at the market for 33 years, and says he feels let down by the council.

He said: “I feel quite sad. I feel that this is an ill-conceived development that will take away something Farnworth has always had.”

“I’m fully aware that Farnworth needs something that is fit for purpose. What I don’t agree with is businesses who have given people years of service being shut down.”

Farnworth councillor Noel Spencer said: “Change is always difficult for some people — people don’t want change.

“We’re still meeting with stallholders to try and resolve their problems. Hopefully, we can satisfy their needs.”

A council spokesman said: “No date has been set for the canopy demolition but we are looking to start work between October 28 and November 22.

“The demolition could take up to three weeks as we will be carrying it out while the market is still open.

“We are also working one-to-one with traders on the market plans.”