A £2.7m plan to redevelop an historic market place in a seaside town may be shelved after a bid for £1.5m government funding failed.
The Great Yarmouth market scheme would have replaced 36 stalls with new single and double units under a new canopy.
The borough council said its aim was to create a market "fit for the 21st Century".
Stallholders raised concerns over the plan saying it would sweep away years of tradition and their own investments.
In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: "We have received notification that our £1.5m bid to the Coastal Communities Fund has not been successful.
"While this is disappointing, we continue to explore other avenues for external funding and to engage on an individual basis with traders."
A report from council officers on any progress is due to be presented to the council's policy and resources committee later this month, and market traders' representatives said they would comment at that point.
The market, which is partly-covered, is thought to date back to the 11th Century and the proposed scheme would create two central areas - one covered - for sitting, eating and potentially for small events and activities.
There would also be refurbished trader toilets and a new market office.
Earlier this year, traders told BBC Radio Norfolk of their concerns at the proposals.
Architects had been brought in to design new stalls - which would be rented to traders under the proposals.
That upset many of the traders who have invested in stall upgrades and currently own their units while only paying ground rent for their pitches.