PLANS to force Abergavenny Market traders to clear their stalls on Fridays and reinstate them on Saturdays have been shelved after pleas from stallholders and local councillors were heard by Councillor Phil Murphy, Monmouthshire cabinet member for resources.

The plan would have seen traders having to take down their a stalls on Friday evenings to make room for special events before reinstating them on Saturday mornings at the cost of several hours of extra work.

Some of the stalls take up to three hours to set up and take down and there were fears that some of the older and longest established stall holders may have decided that enough was enough and left the market altogether - an action that would have been likey to have had commercial repercussions for other traders.

However, stallholders and traders will face some disruption as part of the imminent reconstruction to the Town Hall and Market Hall infrastructure due to the relocation of the library and renovations to the Borough Theatre.

The Market will be losing its front entrance for around ten weeks from April 29 to prepare the town hall for the move of the library into the building. The move is the latest in a series of changes for the town hall and adjoining market which has seen the police counter also moving into the building.

A balcony will be created on a steel frame five metres above the mezzanine floor at the town hall end of the market hall. This will be fitted with panoramic glass windows allowing library-goers to view the market below.

Heating is also to be installed in the market as well many new permanent trading stalls. A new lift is also planned for library access. A reception for the Borough Theatre will be situated to the left of the main entrance on reopening, balanced by the entrance to the One-Stop Shop and the police counter to the right.

Trader, Simon Elliott told the Chronicle, ‘We are pleased the authorities have seen reason over the issue of clearing and reinstating stalls overnight. We are very keen to see the emerging market succeed and are ready to fully cooperate with during the transitional period. Common sense has prevailed and the concerns of the traders have been listened to.’

Councillor Tudor Thomas stated, ‘There was a very positive meeting with members of the local authority, market traders and management which resulted in a concessionary agreement hopefully suiting both the authority and the traders. We remain fully supportive of Abergavenny Market’s amazing traders and stall holders and are grateful for their co-operation during the forthcoming renovations.’

During the main entrance closure, shoppers will be directed down Market Street to enter the market by the rear but traders are stressing there will be no break in service and that all the favourite stalls will be open and trading throughout the work.

The work is set to finish prior to the 2019 Abergavenny Food Festival which takes place on the weekend of September 21 and 22.

At a later date there is the possibility of a discussion to consider the feasability of providing a cover over the outside stalls at the rear of the market to allow stall holders and shoppers a significant improvement in trading conditions.