Traders have expressed concern over the council’s plans to construct Watford’s new market largely out of shipping containers.

At a meeting last night representatives from the Market Working Group told Watford’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, the proposed eight foot containers are too small and they "would have to completely change how they work".

Watford Borough Council has agreed to spend more than two million pounds on the venture. The market is due to move from its current indoor location in Charter Place to the car park in the former TJ Hughes building.

Toni Davis said: "It seems to me that what you are making is a little arcade. I have worked all my life in markets and this is not a market."

Mayor Thornhill responded: "There may be other traders who don’t agree. There may be people queuing up to come into a market like that. We are doing our absolute damndest to make this work.

"I don’t think what we are doing is so wild and wacky compared to other markets."

There were six design options put forward by Urban Space Management, the company appointed as a design consultant. The prospective designs are based on a "modular" layout, made of shipping containers.

Michael Rockman said: "The look that the company is going for is smaller and more nick-nacky rather than that of a sustainable business."

Grant Adams added: "If they were 10 or 12 foot it would make a big difference. Eight foot is a very small space. You would have to completely change how you work."

The Shoreditch-based Boxpark was a particular inspiration for the new market in Watford. Boxpark was opened in 2011 and is constructed of stripped and refitted shipping containers.

Councillor Helen Lynch said: "When we went to Boxpark we saw similar ones to what you are talking about and they were able to display their stock."

Other problems raised in the meeting were the possibility of traders' insurance going up, due to the fact that the market will now be outdoor. The main structure not having a secure weather-proof roof was also a concern.

Michael Rockman said: "The biggest problem we have is the roofing. If it’s bad weather the rain will blow in and the whole of the interior will be soaking and saturated."

Mayor Thornhill responded: "I don’t actually think that will be the case. I think that is an exaggeration."

The change comes after Intu, the operator of intu Watford, signed a lease with Watford Borough Council for Charter Place with a view to turning it into a new £80 million complex with a cinema. A consultation over the new market will be held in the autumn and it is hoped the venue will be up and running by next summer.

Mayor Thornhill said: "You have clearly raised some serious issues, but we need the people who know what they are talking about and actually run markets to say that they are not true. They have designed this market based on existing markets and know what they are doing. At the end of the day you are business people and need to know what your options are. We have to talk with the people who actually run markets and ask them if this will work.

"The reason it’s going to be a different beast is because the current beast isn’t working for the rest of the town. What we want to do is open it out and have it more in keeping with more people. That is our desire and I know that is some of your desires as well. We need it to be better than it currently is and a different vibe than it currently is. I am aware it isn’t going to be easy for some people."