Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By DAISY JACK­SON daisy.jack­[email protected] @daisye­jack­son

TRADERS at Manch­ester’s Christ­mas Mar­kets have hit out over the re­struc­tured site at Al­bert Square, claim­ing it has left them ‘seg­re­gated’ and strug­gling to make money.

Sev­eral of the wooden stalls have been moved out of the main square and on to the road – out­side Slug and Let­tuce and Dut­tons – to make way for ren­o­va­tion works at the town hall.

But traders on the new plots have com­plained of low foot­fall, ter­ri­ble tak­ings and se­cu­rity is­sues.

Some peo­ple claim they were not told about the move un­til they ar­rived to set up their stalls.

Ev­ery trader the M.E.N. spoke to asked not to be named, but all share the same con­cerns and frus­tra­tions.

One trader, who has been at the mar­kets for 15 years, said: “They’ve al­ways been great, but un­for­tu­nately this year they’ve shoved us in the street.

“We’re not in the mar­kets, we’re not in the square. We’re com­pletely seg­re­gated. There’s just no foot­fall. It’s been pa­thetic.

“I’ve closed up for the day. I refuse to stand here in the cold for 12 hours when there’s no one here.”

The on-street pitches are also along a thor­ough­fare for night-time revellers, which stall­hold­ers say brought more prob­lems over the opening week­end.

Another trader, who has been part of the mar­kets for over a decade, re­ported is­sues re­lat­ing to se­cu­rity.

They said: “We’re not fenced in. On the first night I was still set­ting up, it was 10 at night and I had a group of lads ha­rass­ing me here.

“The square is fenced in so you’ve got your safe en­vi­ron­ment to get your boxes out and set ev­ery­thing up with­out be­ing both­ered.

“It’s quite busy here on Fri­day night, peo­ple are walk­ing past the stand. A se­cu­rity guard had to come and stand with me while I fin­ished off.”

Another stall-holder who has been part of the mar­kets for years, said: “It’s fan­tas­tic, it’s great. In terms of rev­enue it’s great but in terms of the buzz too.

“But it’s aw­ful this year. It shows in the fig­ures in terms of how much we’ve not taken, but there’s no buzz around the stall.”

Another trader added: “It’s not the coun­cil’s fault.

“I look at it from both sides - we tech­ni­cally aren’t on Al­bert Square, we’re on the road that goes around it. But on the map this road is called Al­bert Square. They’ve done their best to keep us on the mar­ket.”

Coun Pat Kar­ney said: “This is a new area for trad­ing on Al­bert Square, which over­all has a re­duced foot­print this year as the town hall pro­ject con­tin­ues. “We have tried to ac­com­mo­date as many traders as pos­si­ble who would oth­er­wise not be able to trade at the mar­kets this year.

“How­ever, we try and do ev­ery­thing we can to sup­port our stall hold­ers. Al­ready we have or­gan­ised seat­ing and new sig­nage is on its way.

“I hope this will en­cour­age more peo­ple to take the time to look around this part of Al­bert Square.

“We also hope the in­creased seat­ing will help sup­port any vis­i­tors with mo­bil­ity is­sues.

“As an added draw the in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar Birdie’s free selfie van will re­lo­cate to this part of Al­bert Square, along with a new busk­ing area to help at­tract the crowds,” he said.

I’ve closed for the day. I refuse to stand here in the cold for 12 hours when there is no-one here

Trader whose stall is out­side the main part of Al­bert Square

Some of the stalls are now out­side the main square and on the road

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