MARKET traders in Wrexham have told of their fears for the future due to plans to relocate them while their historic building is refurbished.

Wrexham Council is planning to refurbish the Grade II Listed Butchers Market building on High Street some time next year, with traders invited to attend a meeting later today (September 21) to meet the project manager and they hope to find out more about the plans. The council is also planning to refurbish the neighbouring General Market on Henblas Street.

The Leader went to the Butchers Market and the General Market to speak to traders about the plans, which the council has confirmed would involve the existing traders being relocated while the refurbishment work takes place.

And those we spoke to said they had been told that they would need to reapply for a place in the newly refurbished market.

They expressed concern that they hadn't yet been given confirmation of the dates when they would need to move out and they hoped to find out more at the meeting.

The Leader: An entrance to the Butchers Market in WrexhamAn entrance to the Butchers Market in Wrexham

Butchers Market trader Rob Clarke, who has had the Mad 4 Movies stall at the market for the past 15 years, said he had been told that a place in the refurbished market wasn't guaranteed.

He said: "I think everybody is still suffering from the pandemic. We have got people who have been here a long time - established businesses. We have got a lot of good regular customers. They come in every day or two.

"We have been very patient but we haven't heard a lot about these plans. Hopefully, we will have a few more answers later. We are the kind of people the council will want back."

The Leader: Rob Clarke from Wrexham's Butchers MarketRob Clarke from Wrexham's Butchers Market

Built from scratch

Iresha Soysa, who has built up her Colour Petals flower and gift business from scratch over the past seven years, said she was also worried about the future plans.

The Leader: Iresha Soysa at her stall at the Butchers Market Iresha Soysa at her stall at the Butchers Market

She said: "We are struggling here after Covid. We are not taking much. It's our business's future we are talking about here. The council can't promise us a new stall.

"After we get more information we will have to decide our future plans for the business."

She added that without knowing what was going to happen and when, it was difficult to make certain business decisions such as ordering stock.

Speaking outside the bustling Tracey's Cafe in the Butchers Market, owners Tracey and Dave Rogers told The Leader that they had not long invested thousands of pounds in revamping the cafe, only to be told about the plans to refurbish the market building. They took over the business seven years ago, with Tracey having worked there for 13 years.

Regular clientele

They have built up a regular clientele who come to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat. Tracey and Dave said that they don't even know if they would be able to return to the same spot in the building once the refurbishment is carried out.

The Leader: Tracey and Dave Rogers from Tracey's Cafe at the Butchers Market in WrexhamTracey and Dave Rogers from Tracey's Cafe at the Butchers Market in Wrexham

Tracey said: "We had one meeting about a month ago and they couldn't tell us anything at that time. We have had little information since. Nobody in the market wants this done. The council are saying we can return but we have got to reapply to come back. And where are they going to relocate us to?

"It's the not knowing that is really stressful. We don't really want to move. We feel that the market could just be spruced up a bit and hopefully have ore traders come in. There are some empty units that need clearing out."

Dave said: "We have been offered some compensation if we don't want to return to the refurbished market but it's peanuts."

The Leader: Inside the General Market in WrexhamInside the General Market in Wrexham

Meanwhile, a trader in the General Market, who wished to remain anonymous, said they had major reservations about the plans to refurbish that building once the Butchers Market had been refurbished.

They said that they didn't feel that the council had consulted the traders sufficiently in terms of what worked and what didn't work at the market.

They added: "We love this market. We have survived trading through a pandemic and we have been extremely busy with customers. There's a lack of information about these plans at the moment. We want any refurbishment of this historic building to be sensible.

"We are getting frustrated. We are not being listened to. We are the experts as we do market research here every day.

"The market buildings need a blooming good clean and some decorating, fixing what needs fixing. We shouldn't need to move out while it happens.

"We have heard comments that we need to reapply for our stalls. We have put blood, sweat and tears into this business. We've spent a lot of money and we are worried that the council just wants to rip it all out.

"I'm proud to be a market trader. I love coming here every day. We feel sometimes that we are not really appreciated."

A Wrexham Council spokesman said: β€œIt is likely that the Butchers Market will need to close to allow for the much needed refurbishment next year and we are in contact with the traders about this and their relocation to alternative premises until the works are complete. Once completed they can return to the newly refurbished market building.”