Berkshire

Bracknell market closes as town regeneration gathers pace

The market stall Image copyright Andy Dudman
Image caption The butcher's stall has been run by the same trader for 40 years

A market in Bracknell is to close after 60 years of trading.

Stallholders who have worked in the town for decades say they were given "no notice" ahead of the closure.

The council said operator Cotswold Markets decided to step down and it is not possible to keep the stalls going due to "limited trade".

The closure was announced as preparations for the reopening of the town centre are being made following a £240m regeneration.

A petition opposing the market's demise has gathered hundreds of signatures.

Image copyright BRP
Image caption The regeneration of Bracknell town centre will include one million sq ft of retail and leisure space

Stallholder Andy Dudman says his family has been running a fruit and vegetable stall in Bracknell for 60 years.

He said business is booming and takings were up 20% on last year, with an estimated 1,000 customers shopping at his stall every week.

He said: "I live in Bracknell, I was born in Bracknell, we've got generations of people who came as kids who now come with their kids."

Image copyright BRP
Image caption Bracknell's new £240m town centre, now called the Lexicon, will officially open on 7 September

Bracknell councillor Marc Brunel-Walker said he was "saddened" by the closure as the market was a "long-standing feature" of the town centre.

"We have subsidised the market, moved it to a busier location and promoted it where possible but despite this it has still suffered from falling trade," he said.

Bracknell Market had dwindled to two regular stalls from around 50 at its peak in the 1980s. It moved from being an indoor market to an outdoor market after Winchester House was demolished in 2014.

Its last trading day will be Saturday, 29 April.

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