It's official - Glossop Market Hall will shut 'temporarily' on April 30 for 'essential structural work'.
But it seems that landlords High Peak Borough Council still have no concrete plans of where the stall-holders will go.
The council has now also revealed that outside market traders will be affected.
The market ground is needed as a ‘site compound’ while replacing the hall’s roof and its electrical and fire safety systems take place.
The open metal stalls will be moved and then put back once the work is done and the intention is to leave the wooden stalls in place.
That could take up to 12 months and the uncertainty of where they will operate from in that time has left traders angry and confused.
A market hall insider said: “The council is continually telling us different things and we don’t know where we are.
“They were talking of putting a temporary building on the car park, but we have now been told that a weight restriction on the culvert under the car park prevents this.
“We all knew about the weight problem, it’s what stopped the annual fun fair moving on there around 20 years ago.
“But scores of cars park there every day and I can’t see those being heavier than a temporary building.”
BUSY: Glossop Market car park outside Municipal Buildings.
Cllr Damien Greenhalgh, deputy council leader, said: “The weight restriction due to the culvert is something our council officers have long been aware of.
“What has changed is that, as the specification for the essential roof works has been developed, the need for the works compound to be located on the site of the current outdoor market has been identified which means that the possible site for any temporary building has moved closer to the culvert.
“As there is a six metre area on either edge of the culvert, which is also subject to restrictions, the result is that there is simply not enough space left for a temporary structure.”
Council officers looking at alternative temporary accommodation have still to come up with anything definite.
They say there is ‘minimal availability’ on the high street and no unit big enough to accommodate all the traders.
The council say talks have begun with traders about possible options for the market to continue operating when the hall temporarily closes.
Options under consideration included the temporary structure on the car park, individual vacant shops and other buildings in the town, and hire or purchase of retail cabins.
There is a retail unit currently available at Wren Nest Retail Park - believed to be the vacant Carpetright store - the council is now seeking feedback from traders as to whether they feel this is a suitable venue before speaking to the owner of the building.
EMPTY: The former Carpetright unit at Wren Nest Retail Park.
The unit however is classed as A1 non-food, so a change of use permission would be needed.
But the cooking of food would not be permitted, which traders say would affect the market cafe.
The unit could house 13 of the hall’s 18 stalls, so to fit them all in would mean smaller stalls.
Council leader Cllr Anthony Mckeown said: “We are committed to creating an environment where our towns and high streets can thrive and the significant investment we are making in Glossop’s halls is a key catalyst for that.
“The temporary closure of the Market Hall is unavoidable, but a great deal of work has been done to assess and evaluate the options available in the town for alternative arrangements.
“We’ve shared this information with the traders, and started discussions with them about the options and also to hear from them if they have any other suggestions, before reporting this back to the council.”
The council said it had been working on the assumption that the outdoor market would not be affected by the work, but as the specification had been developed ‘expert, technical advice’ is that the area will be required for the site compound to facilitate the safe movement of vehicles and space for the scaffolding required for the job.
To enable outdoor traders to continue to operate, the council is offering to buy cabins for their use to be located on the car park side of the toilet block and will be discussing this with the traders individually.
Cllr Greenhalgh added: “We have made firm commitments about the town’s market and it has always been our intention to try and keep the traders in business in Glossop while the work is carried out – and that includes the outdoor traders.
“We have a solution which we have presented to the outdoor traders. We will continue our discussions with them, and the indoor traders, to agree whether, and how, we now progress these proposals.
“This is a major investment project and really is a case of the council putting its money where its mouth is.
“While we fully understand the local concerns it is causing in the shorter term, this process will secure the market’s future as a market and help us keep Glossop town centre busy and bustling with people.”
Time however is running out.
A letter handed to traders late last week suggested that the Wren Nest Unit was the ‘only one that may be viable’.
It went on: “We need to know whether you think it is or could be a workable solution.
“We are not asking you to make a firm decision, we just need to know if it is an option worth working on.”
So as not to run the risk of ‘losing the Wren Nest option,’ the traders have been given a February 14 deadline to reply.
If the response is favourable, negotiations with the unit’s owners could begin.
QUIET: An almost empty Glossop outdoor market.