Stall holders are calling on bosses at South Shields Market to help breathe new life into the historic venue.
Traders say there has been a decline in the number of people taking up stalls on market days and fear, if nothing is done soon, it could lead to the end of the historic market.
It’s frustrating as it could be a really good place for new local businesses starting out.Lynne Buddin
Last year, the council handed over the development of the market to environment group Groundwork - with bosses saying they are currently working on a programme of events and activities for 2018 in a bid to help the market grow.
One market trader said: ”The market has been in steady decline for the past couple of years. We just don’t feel we are being promoted enough or that enough is being done to attract new stall holders into the place.
“There are rumours the rent will be going up in April. If that happens, I think that may just finish the market off. I make more money at a car boot sale on a Sunday than I do on market days.”
His sentiments were backed by stall holder Lynne Buddin who says she and husband Andy had stopped using the stall as it wasn’t worth it due to lack of numbers.
She said: “I don’t know what the answer is but something needs to be done to breathe new life into the market place.
“Groundwork have brought in the Pepperpot Crafts fair and that has brought some enthusiasm back. It’s frustrating as it could be a really good place for new local businesses starting out.”
A spokeswoman for South Tyneside Council said: “In recent years, we have invested heavily in the Market Place. As part of the town’s multi million pound 365 regeneration plan, the traditional market square has been given a makeover to provide a more modern civic space fit for the 21st century. The opening of The Word is also helping to attract more footfall into this area.
“Last year we also entered into a partnership with Groundwork to help develop the market and attract new traders as well as host specialist and themed markets and events that have breathed new life into the Market Square. We will continue to work with our partners to develop the offer throughout 2018.”
The spokesman said no decision on rent rates have been made as yet.
Andrew Watts, chief executive of Groundwork STAN, added: “The work undertaken to date has given us a greater understanding of the audiences attracted to the market on different days and we will continue to work to develop the offer within South Shields Market Square.
“We are currently working with partners to establish a programme of events and activities that support the growth of the market during 2018 and beyond.”