A market aimed at boosting flagging trade in Tipton was cancelled after traders failed to show because of the freezing weather.
Eleven traders were due to pitch up at Owen Street yesterday for the weekly-market which launched last week and is due to last for three months. But with light snow flurries on the ground the 10am-5pm traders phoned to say they wouldn’t be attending, in a move which one nearby shop owner labelled “ridiculous”, claiming that market traders should be used to working outdoors.
The Owen Street venture – and another market in Princes End High Street – was approved by Sandwell’s economy boss Councillor Derek Rowley last month.
They were given the go-ahead despite retailers in Princes End fearing the markets would have an impact on their businesses and more than 300 people duly signed a petition against the plans.
Linda Walton, who runs The Flower Connexion in Owen Street, said she welcomed the idea of the market but was angry that traders hadn’t bothered to turn up.
“All this publicity about regenerating the area and there’s just no-one here,” the 51-year-old said.
“Shoppers would have turned up this morning to go to the market and there’s just nothing for them.
“If the traders haven’t turned up because of a few snowflakes that’s ridiculous.
“They’re market traders – they’re supposed to be used to the outdoors.”
Walsall-based organiser Bescot Promotions is running the markets.
Assistant manager Spencer Evans confirmed bad weather was behind the cancellation and that the market should go ahead as normal next week.
“It’ll all go ahead next Tuesday as planned.”
The Princes End market began last week and will take place every Friday.
However David Taylor, who opposed the market plan and is co-owner of John the Handyman’s in the Princes End shopping precinct, said last Friday’s launch event was poorly attended and that the whole scheme could fall flat on its face.
“It was laughable on Friday – only five or six turned up and they’d all left by 2pm,” he said.
Councillor Ian Jones, cabinet member for neighbourhood services at Sandwell Council, said the pilot would continue to run.
He added: “From what I have learned, many of the traders come from areas which are covered by snow, I know that some of the traders come from Wales and elsewhere, so whilst disappointed, I can understand.”
The move comes weeks after Wednesbury councillors were given the go-ahead for their own weekly market in the town centre. The markets will run for six months.