New-loook South Shields Market Place a ‘waste of money’

Market place canopies
Market place canopies

The new-look Market Place has been branded a “waste of money” after rain poured through canopies put in place to protect traders from the elements.

Persistent rain yesterday brought to light a number of problems with the work which has been carried out in the area.

Market place canopies

Market place canopies

The canopies put in place have been hailed by council chiefs as an “important milestone” in its 365 town centre regeneration programme.

But, with huge puddles forming around the Market Place, traders say rainwater was pouring through the seams of the new metal covers.

The new-look Market Place has been in operation for a matter of weeks and has already come under fire by traders and shoppers describing it as “ill thought out.”

One trader, who did not wish to be named, said: “The whole thing is a waste of money, all of the market should have been covered, not just the outskirts.

The whole thing is a waste of money

Market trader

“When the rain came down this morning it was pouring through the seams of the new metal covers.

“Thankfully each of the stalls still have their original canopies, so our stock didn’t get too wet.”

The stall holders are also frustrated over the new pavements.

They claim that, when it rains, water pools together in the centre of the market, next to the Old Town Hall.

The trader said: “Normally on a Friday the market is really busy, but if it’s raining first thing a lot of people don’t bother coming out to set up. If you end up with a stall in the middle then there’s nowhere to put your stock underneath, it gets soaking. It hasn’t really been thought out very well.”

One shopper said: “Surely the canopies should offer the shoppers and the stallholders some protection from the elements but it seems to have made things worse for some.”

The South Shields 365 town centre regeneration project is aimed at improving the economic prosperity of South Shields

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “Drainpipes are an integral element of the canopies, so rainwater should drain away. We will investigate the situation and if any issues are highlighted, this will be put right by the contractor at no expense to the council.”

The southern section of the Market Place is expected to be completed early next year, and future work will re-connect the market place with St Hilda’s Church.