Express & Star

'We were left with no choice but to close' - Trader's anger at Wolverhampton Market muddle

A popular food business that has been trading at a Black Country market for 20 years is closing.

Carol Horne, aged 61 of Oxley, who runs the cabin

Angry owners are blaming Wolverhampton council, claiming the local authority ‘messed them about’ over a move to a planned new site.

The Snack Bar, which has been a familiar sight since 1997, was once housed inside the former market building where it had a ‘busy and bustling’ trade.

It currently operates from a cabin in School Street, and owners had hoped it would feature in the council’s plans for its new market on the Southside of the city.

However, Carol Horne, who runs the eatery, says she has been ‘messed about’ by the local authority so much she has decided to shut up shop for the last time this weekend.

Carol, aged 61 of Oxley, said: “It’s disgusting how we’ve been treated. When we moved out here, trade dropped so much even though we’re the only hot food retailer here in these cabins.

“Then the council said it would house us in the new market and we would have a bigger premises with seating like we did before. So we’ve hung on and hung on.

“But then this summer we were told that the council didn’t have the money to rehouse us in its new development, so we’ve been left with no choice but to close.”

The bar will officially close today.

The council’s new market is to open in March 2018 and will be located off Cleveland Street.

An artist impression of what the new market will look like once completed in spring 2018

Carol added: “I just can’t afford to carry on. It’s £7,000 to rent this cabin a year, that’s without electric and water. Not only that, I have to spend £64 a month on car parking just to get here.

“When we had the premises inside of the old market it was so popular.

“The older folks would come along and have their toast and tea and it was a proper meeting point.

“It was always busy and bustling and had been there for at least 50 years.

“It makes me quite emotional to see how its been left now. But as they say, as one door closes, another opens. I just wish we didn’t have to close.”

Last month the council released new artist’s impressions of what the new market will look like.

The site will boast 20 cabins and 48 stalls.

WATCH: Development work under way at the new site of Wolverhampton Market

The council has said it will provide flexibility to trade from bigger cabins, event space, a secure site with measures in place to combat hostile vehicles while still allowing access for traders to load and unload, CCTV, integrated lighting and power, free WiFi, canopy covered walkways, offices, customer toilets, and comprehensive parking and storage facilities.

A temporary market has been in place since April last year when the indoor traders joined the outdoor traders in Market Square to enable the demolition of Heantun House and the old indoor market.

A City of Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: “The owner of the Snack Bar was offered enhanced facilities on a prime pitch at the new city centre market but has chosen not to make the switch in spring.

“She has also decided not to continue trading at the current market when her lease runs out in the New Year and we would like to wish her all the best for the future.

“In advance of this happening we are in discussions with a number of food operators to provide a hot food offer in the interim.

“As has previously been highlighted, food and drink will form an essential part of the new market offer.

“Several units will be equipped for this purpose and we have had numerous enquiries from street food and drink operators, with exciting announcements on the successful applicants to come in the New Year.”