The site of the market in Margate
by Nisha Chopra
Margate's market traders have been given just days to quit their stalls - amid major plans to revive the town.
In total 12 stall holders have been given a deadline of next Wednesday to shut up shop and leave indefinitely.
It comes after 'notices to suspend' the market were sent out, while planning permission is sought from the council to relocate the market to its former site at the lower end of the high street.
But just months ago retail guru Mary Portas visited the town, claiming the market was at the heart of the area's rejuvenation.
Margate Town Partnership, which runs the market alongside Hughmark Continental Limited of Reading, has said the market's location is now blocking newly-occupied stores.
For years the market has been moved up and down the town to chase footfall or because of engineering works.
But trader Vince Munday, who has been working stalls for around seven years in Thanet, says their livelihoods are being taken away from them just months before Christmas.
He said: “We’re down to 12 market traders and in these current times nobody can afford to lose work - it’s a big hit to everybody at not a great time.”
Market stall holder Vince Munday
“They’re fighting in the face of what every other town is trying to do.
“Every other town is trying to get a market in - they’re trying to get rid of it.”
Estate agent, Terence Painter, who is part of the Margate Town Partnership and chairman of the Margate Town Team, said: “We did an audit and there were 28 empty shops and we’re now down to 15, so you can see the success of bringing those shop premises back into use is having on the market.
"We’re trying to get a balance between the two.
“What’s happened with new shops opening up is that they’re being restricted by the amount of space they can have by the markets, so you can see the predicament we’re in.
“We’re not looking to stop the market - we’re looking to relocate and it’s only a suspension until the planning is agreed.
“Normally applications can take some considerable time, we felt that the winter months coming is probably the best time to suspend it, as it’s not their best trading period.”
In a statement Hughmark said: “We do not know how long the talks for the move to our original site might take so the Town Centre Partnership asked us to suspend the operation.”
It’s hoped the market will be up and running again early next year.