WREXHAM’s Butchers Market has lost one of its longest-serving traders after a clash with the council over his expansion plans.
Giles Jones is moving out of the town centre market where members of his family have worked for 124 years and will bring down the shutters and move 50 yards into Henblas Street, and into a shop next door to Mr B’s Barbers at the end of the month.
He said: “I wanted to take over the vacant stall next door when Tim For Fish moved out recently and relinquish part of my stall.
“The council said we could have Tim’s stall but in the middle of trying to agree on a rent the council moved the goalposts.
“The council then said there had been a misunderstanding and the offer of Tim’s stall was still on the table but by that time I had the opportunity of the shop in Henblas Street .
“It will be a pity moving from the market but we are now looking forward to the move.”
Cllr Rodney Skelland, lead member for regeneration and corporate governance at Wrexham Council, said: “One of the main roles of markets, both indoors and outdoors, is to allow entrepreneurs to develop their skills and to test the market for their goods. In this case whilst sad to be losing such good tenants as both Tim For Fish and Giles Jones the Butcher, Wrexham Council is very happy that both businesses have taken on shop units within the independent sector of the town and will continue to support them.
“We made every effort to assist Mr Jones with his proposed expansion within the market.
“However Mr Jones’ requirements changed from those of expansion to location.”
Cllr Skelland said that during the last 12 months the council had been able to offer trading positions to seven new businesses in the town’s covered markets.
The Butchers Market once boasted almost 20 butchers but now has only two left – Rob Platt and Paul Bowring.
Many have pointed the finger at the supermarkets for sparking the decline but Mr Jones said there were plenty of people who had stayed loyal to the market.
He added: "We have been hit, but supermarkets have been around a long time and we are lucky we have so many loyal customers.”
Mr Jones’ great-grandfather launched the family business in 1886 in the open market then in High Street. He was followed by his son John Lloyd and then his son Hugh John Jones, Giles’s father.
Hugh John was affectionately known as “John the Bell” by thousands of Wrexham FC fans due to him carrying a loud handbell to matches home and abroad during the club’s European heyday, and he is still a fan.
Retired butcher Stan Brimlow said: “When I started as an apprentice in 1958 there were 17 butchers right around the perimeter of the market.
“It is very sad to see what was once the hub of the town almost gone.
“I blame the supermarkets for the effect they have had on businesses like butchers.”
See full story in the Leader