Bracknell market traders regeneration fearsBy Becky Barnes
March 07, 2013
Traders claim they are being left in the dark over the future of Bracknell Market amid fears the regeneration will force them outside.
Stallholders based at bottom of the former 3M building in Market Place, are worried the indoor market may disappear after the town centre revamp.
One trader, who wished to be referred to as Joe, said if the market was moved outdoors many stallholders would not be able to trade.
He said: “The market is an invaluable part of Bracknell. The variety of stalls there cannot be found in the area.
“Many of the customers come to us because of the time we can afford to them.”
Marion Groom, of Groom’s Plants and Gifts, added: “One thing that is being overlooked is the community the market serves, we have time to chat to our customers.
“One lady told me I was the only person she had spoken to all week.
“I would like to see an indoor market where there are facilities for permanent traders and smaller, cheaper stalls for floating and start-up traders.”
Marion added that many stallholders feel they are not being kept up-to-date by councillors.
She said: “We only learn from the papers and our customers and all we have been told is that Councillor Marc Brunel-Walker is committed to a market.
“We need people to know it is open, but it feels like the council are hoping we will all give up and go away quietly.
“It’s a vicious circle as we have no footfall so people are not making the rent and are going.
“We are at the bottom of a derelict building and if the footfall does not come in here then we will have to go.”
Cllr Brunel-Walker last month quashed rumours the future of the market was under threat when he called on people in Bracknell to tell him what they want for the market.
Comer Homes is working on plans to transform Winchester House, better known as the former 3M building, into 311 apartments in a project the company hopes will run alongside the town centre regeneration.
A paperwork error led to the initial application being refused, but the company said last month it was committed to redeveloping the site.
Steven Caplan, chief officer for property at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “The council and Comer Homes continue to have discussions on the future of Winchester House as momentum is gained on the retail development.
“Although it is hoped the redevelopment of Winchester House will be brought forward as soon as possible, discussions are still in the early days.
“Plans for the future of the market will be informed by these discussions and, as we have previously informed traders, the council has no intention of displacing the market until there is certainty over the redevelopment of Winchester House.
“Once more information is available we will of course consult with the stallholders.”