Uxbridge Town Centre has undergone an expensive refurbishment recently, with the council putting in nearly a quarter of a million pounds of taxpayers money.
Now it would appear that this refit is to be ruined with the arrival of a ‘French Market’ for 3 days a week starting from Thursday.
Local traders in the Pavilions Market place have already seen trade drop since the opening of The Chimes, which has diverted customers from the older shopping mall. Now they will have to compete with more traders in prime position in front of their plots.
I spoke with a friend of mine who runs a stall in the Pavilions on Friday, and he was absolutely livid about the decision. He told me that the existing traders pay their rent to the council, are fully licensed, and subject to regular inspections – Many have been on their stalls for over ten years. Now they are having to compete with traders who are operating under the auspices of a private contractor, and whose license terms are not known. I was told that many of the traders, who have to pay their council rents whether they are on site or not, are concerned that these new traders will be able to pick and choose when they open, selecting the best days and not turning up to offer choice for the consumer whenever it suits them. There also seemed to be anger that this market is opening in the run up to Christmas, a real make or break time for these local traders who have suffered so much in the downturn.
We all want to see our town centres being vibrant and successful, but if this new market puts the established traders out of business and then moves on itself, surely that is to the detriment of our community?