STALLHOLDERS in South Shields have pitched their views on how to revive the town’s historic Market Place.
Council bosses this week pledged to listen to traders’ views as they push ahead with a £100m masterplan for the town.
Among the ideas up for discussion is replacement of the existing metal stalls with “something more attractive” – possibly a traditional wooden design.
Supplying traders with water and electricity and installing better and more energy-efficient lighting are other options.
Stephen Purvis, who sells pies, pastries and cakes from his stall, welcomed the dialogue.
He said: “The idea of creating a more traditional market could work.
“It’s probably a good idea. It would create a uniformity in the Market Place.
“They have done something similar at Morpeth market, where they have brought in gazebos and it has gone down really well.
“My main concern is what will be the consequences of dividing the market in half, as is planned.
“What will that mean for me because I have just acquired a permanent pitch?
“What will it mean for the stallholders who have traded here for 20 or 30 years? Will they be moved on? That’s the dialogue we need to have.
“As for lighting up the stalls, that could work, especially on the colder winter afternoons. It would make the market more inviting.”
Brendan Bradley has been selling ornaments and collectables from his stall for just three months.
He said: “My suggestion would be to extend the tarpaulin above the stalls to give more protection in bad weather.
“As for providing electricity, I’m not sure that would be any benefit, unless you’re selling electrical items. Street lamps might make the stalls more inviting.”
Karen Anderson has sold pillows and home furnishings in the Market Place for 22 years,
She said: “I’m not particularly bothered about making the market pretty, it’s just about persuading people to come here.
“One thing that could have helped that was if they had created a car park on the Wouldhave House site – instead of grassing it and putting a wooden fence around it.”