FLEETWOOD Market stall holders who will be absent on Tram Sunday have defended their decision after a savage attack from the transport festival chairman.
Coun Mike Sanderson was furious after a large number of market traders said they would be staying closed for the big event on July 17.
He has organised a continental market on the day and hoped it would tie in effectively with Fleetwood Market.
The traditional market on Adelaide Street will still be open despite a majority of stall holders voting to stay closed.
Bosses questioned the traders as to what their feelings were on opening up for the big day and while 51 said they would like to open as usual, 70 said they would rather remain closed.
Coun Sanderson said: “No wonder trade is bad with ridiculous decisions like this.
“Those who don’t want to open should pack their goods and head out of town and leave room for real traders to make things tick again.”
But Sonia Duncalf, who has an underwear stall in the market, said Tram Sunday was never a good trading day for the market traders.
She said: “The continental market doesn’t help us.
“People just come in here to use the toilets.
“When families are having a day out they don’t want to come in a market carrying bags around – they want to look at the cars and other attractions.
“If I opened I would just lose money.”
Another stall holder, who declined to be named, said: “We have done it a few years but the public stay on Lord Street – they aren’t interested in the market.”
Other traders would be opening, though, with Gary Sharp, who owns the Cheeky Chops babywear stall, saying: “I want to open and make some more money.”
Although the market will be open on the day, it remains to be seen how many stalls will open.
Coun Sanderson added: “It’s about time we as a council dictated the terms of opening the market for the sake of the town’s economy, especially when so-called business people do not want to grasp opportunities like this.”
Wyre Council chief executive Donna Hall said the market would definitely remain open.
She added: “This is one of the most important events in the town’s calendar and we intend to support it in every way possible.
“People should be able to experience everything Fleetwood has to offer when they visit and we hope our decision encourages other businesses to follow suit.”
In the returned postal vote, 51 traders opted to open, 70 did not and 64 abstained.