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Traders fury: stuck in the middle of nowhere'

PUBLISHED: 16:04 02 December 2009 | UPDATED: 11:39 12 August 2010

PETITION: Market trader John Plume.

PETITION: Market trader John Plume.

MARKET traders are petitioning a council to stop delaying a proposal which was first raised two years ago to move them into a busy High Street.

MARKET traders are petitioning a council to stop delaying a proposal which was first raised two years ago to move them into a busy High Street.

In the meantime, Bromley council has been allowing farmers markets and a Christmas market in the High Street but plans for the Charter Market to move from the site in Station Road, Bromley North, to the centre have gotten no further than a consultation with residents and traders.

The Charter Market was granted a royal charter by King John more than 800 years ago, which assured that no other market would take place in the vicinity on the same day.

Now its traders are growing increasingly unhappy with the situation, particularly since the council has allowed the Christmas market run every day throughout December, the four best weeks of the year for trade.

John Plume, 56, of Dominic Drive, New Eltham, said: "We are going to petition the council. There are a lot of people who are very unhappy about it. How can it take two years? It's not very efficient.

"How can the Christmas market complement us? They are in the best position and we're stuck in the middle of nowhere.

"We were told this time two years ago that we would be in by the next Easter, that's why we didn't kick up too much of a fuss about the Christmas market because we thought 'we'll be there in a few weeks'."

Bromley council has strict criteria on what is allowed at the Christmas market which is supposed to be mainly arts and crafts rather than retail goods such as the football merchandise Mr Plume sells.

But he said he has been told there is a stall selling goods identical to his despite him being told his were unsuitable.

A Bromley council spokesperson said: "We are continuing to meet with the traders to try and improve their businesses.

"Following the majority of traders' wishes, the council has been working towards relocating the market and we have moved forwards with the proposal but it does take time and the traders have been kept informed at all times.

"We have consulted with local residents, businesses in the town centre and the traders themselves. We are now in the process of submitting a planning application whilst continuing to promote the market itself. We want to see successful markets within our town centre which we know will be beneficial to businesses and shoppers.

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