WIGAN market traders are demanding council chiefs re-think proposals to relocate them, arguing it could damage businesses.
Indoor smallholders are angry about plans before the council to relocate the facility to the unoccupied shop units on the ground floor of Marketgate.
The massive scheme, which includes proposals for a multi-screen cinema, would also release the existing market hall for possible supermarket expansion.
But the traders have now launched a petition campaign to make sure the market is moved to the first floor, with a department store place underneath instead.
Many traders are slamming the current suggested ground floor provision as a “dungeon”.
Mike O’Connor, owner of the Sports Trend business, said that if the market is to be moved, traders want “real thought” to be given to making the venture a success.
He added: “It needs a dedicated entrance in Standishgate for a start because there is not going to be enough natural footfall passing through from one end to the other to make it sustainable, otherwise, but that isn’t included in the plans at present.”
“Even though at the moment we are all struggling like mad I have not come across a single trader that wants to go as it is currently.
“What they are putting forward is to stick us in a dungeon and all the stalls are going to be pretty cramped with not really enough room for storage or for us to run our businesses successfully.”
Paul Ainscough, of the long-standing Ainscough Tools stall, added: “If we were to be offered the first floor it would be entirely different because that way we can see a future. In fact we would agree to it tomorrow. But the place they are offering is like dungeon. No natural sun light, just three doors and the ceilings are too low with too many stanchions in the place.”
Deputy council leader David Molyneux said that the traders concerns would be fully considered as part of the planning process.
He added: “The plans show the Market Hall moving to what is the current Marketgate Centre – returning the markets to their historic home adjacent to Market Street. The developers believe this new location will increase the footfall to the markets.
“We will of course work with traders to make sure their views are taken into account.”