MARKET traders are in uproar over the “terrible timing” of a controversial town centre regeneration plan.
Mold traders have called the town council “inconsiderate” over a decision to commence work on the £500,000 Daniel Owen Square redevelopment in the summer.
They say the work, expected to last four months, should have been done post-Christmas instead of through the peak months and during the run-up to the festive season.
It is set to start next month and will be finished in November.
Traders, who will be moved during the period of works, fear a downturn in trade, saying shoppers will be put off from coming while the works are under way.
Some told the Leader they could see no benefit to them from the square’s rejuvenation and said with increased activity from traffic wardens as well as expectations of a Sainsbury’s supermarket development, the upheaval of the work could cause even more people to stay away from their town centre enterprises.
“I am not happy about it at all,” said clothing stallholder John Mason.
“The timing could have been better. They should have started in January.
“It is terrible to move us in the summer months.
“The council has no consideration for traders and it will be sacrilege to cut down some of the trees that are here too.” Last year the council’s town centre manager, Dave Hill, refuted traders’ claims that they had been kept in the dark over the plans.
“Any claim the town and county council have kept traders in the dark is completely untrue,” he said.
At the council’s May meeting Mr Hill revealed market traders would be temporarily displaced to Earl Road, King Street and Upper High Street while the works take place.
He told the Leader traders had been informed of their impending move but hardware stallholder Paul Oldfield said: “I haven’t heard anything yet.”
Mr Oldfield said he would be relatively content with any temporary move from the square to nearby Earl Road but Derick Dee, owner of Mr Dee’s Cheese, said: “I am still waiting to see where I will have to go.
“But I am concerned about any move. I don’t agree with the timing.
“I don’t know whether I will lose trade but can’t see the revamp bringing any benefit to traders anyway.”
Pet stall owner Karen Pryddyn said: “This is our livelihood but that doesn’t seem to be important to the council.
“It is bad timing to start work in July and I still don’t know exactly where I am supposed to be moved to.
“Nobody has been out to see us. They should be ashamed. We are very upset.”
The square is designed to have a raised platform to enable it to serve as an artistic hub for performers with anchor points and mains electricity being made available to market traders for the first time. The revamp, which also involves the relocation of the Daniel Owen Statue, is scheduled to complete in time for the town’s November 26 Christmas lights switch-on.
Womenswear stallholder Inderjit Gill said: “January to March are our leanest months so it would have made more sense to do the work then.
“Our Christmas trade begins in October so I hope the move won’t affect that. I think it is the wrong time to be doing it.
“You build up trade in one place and people know where you are but when you move things can change.
“I haven’t had a lot of information. The council could have told us more.”
Diane Jones of the Beehive Babyland, said: “Work like this stops people from coming and you have a job to get them back.
“The timing is very bad. It should have been done in winter.
“The present trading climate isn’t good as it is and I don’t think the revamp will be of any long term benefit to traders.
“The council should be trying to accommodate us better. They don’t write to us.”
Flintshire Fitness Supplies owner Tony Puplett, who runs his business from the Daniel Owen Precinct, said: “It is utterly ridiculous to spend all this money on the Daniel Owen Square.
“That money could be turned into an incentive to help businesses develop.”
Paul Williams and Martin Grafton of Williams, run Grafton Butchers on Earl Road.
Mr Williams said: “The town is going down and if they are not careful the council will kill it.
“I don’t think the development will help my trade at all or be of benefit to the town.
“I hope I am proved wrong but I think the focus should be on encouraging people into Mold.
“It is the markets that bring people in and they need protecting.”
Mr Grafton added: “I don’t think the revamp of the square will bring any financial benefit.”
See full story in the Leader