Crawley petitions call for Queen Square market to stay

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More than 3,000 people have signed two petitions against plans to shut down a West Sussex market.

Crawley Borough Council wants to close the Wednesday market in Queen Square, which has been running for three years.

Stallholders say the market supports two other trading days on Friday and Saturday in the High Street, which has a lower footfall.

The council's town centre manager Alfredo Mendes said the Queen Square market was a temporary arrangement.

The High Street market was granted a licence by King John in 1202 but the traders say the town's main retail area has moved away.

'No retail shops'

"They want us to concentrate on the High Street location, but the council has admitted there is no footfall there," said Sandy Turner, who runs a hat and handbag stall.

"As small businesses, we are just not going to survive. The High Street has got no retail shops."

Some Queen Square shops have closed down, but the council has plans to spend £3m improving the location.

Mr Mendes said the High Street had been home to the market for more than 800 years.

"We realise there is a challenge in developing the daytime businesses in the High Street," he said.

"But the market traders also have a role in making it more viable."

The petitions will be debated at the full council meeting on 23 April.

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