Shopkeepers in a Black Country town are calling on council chiefs to consider scrapping new street markets after only a single trader turned up at the last event.
Businesses have called on Sandwell Council to rethink the scheme after only one clothing stall was set up in Princes End, Tipton, yesterday.
It comes just days after no traders turned out for a second market, in Owen Street, on Tuesday due to the freezing weather.
Sandwell Council approved both ventures last month. They are set to run weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays for the next three months. But traders are now urging the council to rethink the scheme and invest in community events in order to bring in more business.
Retailers in Princes End opposed the markets fearing they would have an impact on their businesses. David Taylor, co-owner of John the Handyman, said: “I would urge our local councillors to stop the markets and talk to the traders about organising community events.
“This would help to regenerate the area for the people of Princes End and Tipton as a whole. I want to put the ball in their court giving them the option to talk to us.”
But Nadeem Sohail, who was the single trader to set up at yesterday’s market, said he was convinced there was a strong need for such events in the town. The 40-year-old, who has been a market trader for 10 years, said: “I admit this week has been disappointing but that has been due to the weather.
“Next week everyone will be here as planned and I am certain it will bring more trade into the town for everyone. I have been told the weather has been the main reason for the lack of attendance this week.”
Mr Sohail said Walsall-based Bescot Promotions, which runs both markets, had said he would not have to pay rent for setting up at this week’s event. Spokesman for the firm Spencer Evans said: “It has been a little disappointing but we just don’t have the weather behind us at the moment.
“We are expecting traders to return next week. All we can do is keep trying to create the best markets possible and bring more business into the town.”
Councillor Ian Jones, cabinet member for neighbourhood services, said it was still very early days for the markets and the pilot scheme would continue.
“Community events would go hand-in-hand with the markets to bring more people into the town,” he said.
“When the weather picks up I think we will see more traders in the town. We have to give this scheme a chance to grow.”