FARNWORTH market is set to be demolished — angering traders who have worked there all their lives.

The market site will be redeveloped into a new retail area and traders will be given a new site with so-called “demountable stalls” — temporary stalls which can be put up and down, rather than the current fixed stalls.

Bolton Council and regeneration experts St Modwen have been working on the Farnworth masterplan for months and say the development could create more than 100 jobs.

The existing canopy over Farnworth Market — which houses more than 100 stalls — will be knocked down before Christmas, if planning permission is granted.

The original market structure will be replaced with 30 demountable stalls, but the council has not confirmed where they will go in the town centre.

During the financial year 2012/12, Bolton Council subsidised the market by £41,732.
St Modwen — which bought the precinct in 2011 for £5 million — has proposed to build 20,000 sq ft of new retail space in the precinct area.

The blueprint will be unveiled at the Farnworth area forum tonight by representatives from Bolton Council and St Modwen.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: “The much-needed regeneration will transform an area that is in real need of new investment and development and could create up to 100 jobs.

“The development will deliver up to 20,000 sq ft of new retail space alongside improvements to the bus station and public realm.

“A number of options are being considered for the permanent relocation of the demountable stalls and will be agreed after discussions with market traders have taken place.”

The council and St Modwen are also in discussion with NHS England about a potential health centre on the new site.

Residents and traders were let down in 2010 when previous owners Ediston put the centre on the market after deciding the complex “no longer fitted with its portfolio”.

The council — which owns the site — has £325,000 to spend on revamping the market, which was provided in a section 106 agreement with Tesco as part of the deal for granting planning permission for its new Long Causeway store.

St Modwen would not disclose how much money it is investing in the site.

The developers are expected to submit a planning application for the retail site early in the New Year, and if approved, work could be complete by 2015.

Cllr Noel Spencer said the market had been going into gradual decline for years.

He said: “We have seen a decline in the market as we have known it for a number of years.

“There have been complaints about disabled access to the stalls and the area has become a gathering place for anti-social behaviour.

“I think people need to be aware that the market has been going slowly down the drain and we need a new approach.

“I know that some of the traders are not happy. But St Modwen has a great track record for regenerating areas and I think we have got to work in partnership with it.”

The market, currently open on a Friday, Saturday and Monday, will be relocated along Asda square and along Brackley Street during the development work.

A new permanent location for the second-hand market held on Monday is also being sought.

The council is urging people to leave comments on its website.

The deadline for feedback is October 18.