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Traders 'fear Sainsbury's extension' in Eastleigh
7:20am Wednesday 9th May 2012 in Business
MARKET traders in Eastleigh say they “fear for their livelihoods” because of plans for a supermarket extension.
Sainsbury’s wants to demolish its existing 30-year-old store in Leigh Road and replace it with a bigger version, creating 230 jobs.
The plans have already caused controversy because the store hopes to build on some of Leigh Road Recreation Ground, described by campaigners as the “last green lung” in the centre.
Now Sainsbury’s has revealed it will also move the front of its store onto land used for decades as part of Eastleigh’s bi-weekly market.
Pavement at the front of the store will be taken over by the new building, reducing the space for the stalls to a pedestrianised strip between shops.
Carl Doran from the Alex Thomas Fruits stall said he was not sure if the market would survive.
He said: “There’s not going to be enough space for a walkway in the middle. Markets are on the decline anyway because the rents are so high.
“I’m all for change and growth but I think it’s going to destroy a lot of livelihoods. And if it affects trade that much we won’t have a market in Eastleigh.”
Nikki Scammel from clothing stall Street Y’z says she has mixed feelings.
She said: “Although Sainsbury’s will bring customers we will have less space and the question is how are ||you going to fit in the traders?
“It will be difficult.”
But Sainsbury’s insist there will be enough space for the market adding its designs allow for market stalls to be set up back to back on three areas.
A spokesperson said: “As part of our proposals for Eastleigh, we are proposing a comprehensive package of improvements to the public space around the store to enhance the environment for town centre users.
“This includes a new Town Square and realigned Leigh Road pedestrianised precinct designed to accommodate the Thursday and Saturday markets, including water and power points for market traders.
“The proposed design of the new store will fill in a small wedge-shaped paved area next to the existing market.
“The design ensures there will be plenty of space for the popular market to grow.”
A planning application for the new store has been submitted to Eastleigh Borough Council but a date has not yet been set for the decision.
For more information about commenting on the plans, people can email email@example.com.
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