Traders lament market change as unique stalls set to go

Ashton Markets
Ashton Markets

Long-standing stall runners are lamenting the impending changes to unique market stalls which are making way for a new shopping space.

The old shipping container-style cabins at Ashton Market are scheduled to be removed and replaced by the end of the year, under new council plans.

In July, Wigan Council announced “a new exciting future” for the area after securing a £30,000 investment to create a modern, attractive pop-up market.

Under the new plans, the market will continue to run but will no longer be operated out of the metal cabins, instead being swapped for pop-up gazebo stalls.

Yvonne Gibson opened a card shop in one of the industrial-looking stalls 45 years ago, before passing it on to her daughter Trina around seven years ago.

“I think it’s sad and so do all the customers,” Yvonne said about the changes.

“We have hundreds of customers, old and young. They like to sit and have a chat with us, and now it’s all going to go. Over the years it’s gone from hundreds of stalls to just a few.”

Indeed, many traders have already relocated or even ceased trading altogether.

And Yvonne said that whilst the council has made arrangements to allow them to keep trading, the heritage and nostalgia would be lost.

“I know we’re getting gazebos but as a card shop we can’t really work with them, especially in the winter. We knew it was happening, but it’s still come as a big shock.”

Yvonne also revealed some fond memories on running her card shop, saying: “There are so many people I’ve served over the years. I see people now who’s mothers and grandmothers I’ve served when they were young."

At present, the markets opens two days a week and has regularly served people in the town since the early 1900s.

Coun David Molyneux, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “We want the very best future for Ashton Market. With this significant investment we aim to create a vibrant and inviting market that is popular with shoppers and increases the number of visitors Ashton Market has.

“To not invest and improve the market could result in a decline in the popularity of the market. We will work with traders to ensure that disruption during the works will be kept to a minimum."