Angry stallholders today began moving the last of their stock out of a Fylde coast market – after admitting defeat in their bid to keep it running.
HBS Shopping Village, known as the Green Market, on Victoria Road West, Cleveleys, has been the subject of a dispute over the past fortnight between more than 25 businesses and their landlord over plans to replace the indoor site with a Poundland shop.
Traders claim they were given just 24 hours notice to remove their stock at the start of this month, sparking a protest and calls from traders for the budget company to stay out of Cleveleys.
But the protests were in vain and business bosses were told to clear out the market after they failed to secure any legal backing for their cause.
Mehfuz Dasu, a stallholder inside the market, today said they had admitted defeat.
He said: “There’s nothing we can do now so we are getting on with emptying out the market. It’s a bit of a sad time but there’s not much time to ponder what’s gone on because we’ve got to find somewhere else.
“Everyone is going to try to look for another site but we have to put up with what we can and deal with each day as it comes. We thought we were making a difference with the protests and thought Poundland might consider their position.”
Sam Abdul, a menswear trader, added: “I’m angry about what’s happened.
“The big man has stamped on us by throwing us out.”
The traders were joined in their protests by Wyre councillors and Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, who said he did not want to see another high street shop come in to Cleveleys at the expense of independent businesses.
Mr Maynard said: “I’m very disappointed but was always realistic the landlord had the final say in the matter and I hope Wyre Council will continue to search for an alternative venue in the town but realise that is scant consolation. I did speak to Poundland to say the market is in Cleveleys’ best interest, but this is very sad.”
Landlord Salim Patel was unavailable to comment today, but has previously told The Gazette his tenants were in fact given 24 months notice about Poundland’s plans and all the correct procedures have been followed.
A spokeswoman for Poundland said: “We can confirm that Poundland will be opening a store in Cleveleys in December following an exchange of contract with the landlord 15 months ago. Discussions between the landlord and previous tenants are not something Poundland is in a position to comment on.”
A spokeswoman for Wyre Council confirmed the authority would meet with traders to assist them in looking for a new premises.