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Traders' views on Watford borough Council's plans for Charter Place
In a less than a year Watford’s market traders will have packed up their stalls in Charter Place - some for good - and will be trying to carve out a space for their businesses in one of two new markets.
Capital Shopping Centres, which owns the Harlequin, is taking the space occupied by Charter Place market as part of a wide scale redevelopment of the area.
A smaller market will be built in a space a quarter of the size of the current market, in an area known as "the triangle", situated near the YMCA.
Watford Borough Council announced this week that it would also build a new, £1million indoor market in the car park outside the former TJ Hughes building, big enough for 35 stalls.
Grant Adams, chairman of the Watford branch of the National Market Traders Federation, said:
""Watford was built on the success of its market and we find the CSC plan disappointing. It is an opportunity missed to champion Watford Traders.
"We are happy the council understands the triangle is not suitable and it is a case of jumping on board their plans and making them work."
Peter Daniels, whose Sounds Retro record store holds more than 10,000 albums, said: "I don’t know what to do. I might have to look into getting a shop.
"Business is really good at the moment, I’ve doubled in size during the past six months and people are coming a long way to come here especially."
Father and daughter Larry and Maria Richardson opened their stall, Land of Wooden Toys, on Saturday.
Mr Richardson, who worked as a carpenter and locksmith before setting up shop, said: "We make some of the toys in a workshop in Denham and buy others in.
"The advantage here is that you can leave everything here at night. But when the move happens, it happens. People still enjoy coming to the market and anything that generates money is a good thing."
Another family business which opened in the last two weeks is Lavender Ladies, run by mother and daughter Iris Ager and Rebecca Newman.
Iris said: "We moved in on Tuesday and only finished painting on Monday. The new site is way out of the way for Watford shoppers."
Rebecca added: "We wanted to be in one place so people could keep coming back. The sheaves of lavender are quite delicate so can’t be packed and repacked.
"It the market is moved outdoors we wouldn’t be able to run as it takes a day to unpack the stuff and stock up."
Sue Fox, from Sweetie Sue’s sweet shop, said: "I’m trying to be positive, but what concerns me is the access for Joe public.
"People will see if from the street but will they be able to get there easily? I’ll go with the flow but until we see the plans it’s hard to say.
"I’ve been here 20 years. Being here so long, I’ve got my regulars and hopefully they’ll come with me. We are a family here and we’re being split up."