A WEEKLY market is set to be launched in a town’s high street.
Plans for the market, at Church Street in Seaham, have been approved, with final arrangements now under way to launch the new venture.
About 40 stalls will be set up in the pedestrianised road each Friday, with traders operating from 9am to 4pm.
Three letters detailing concerns, including the threat to existing shops and noise made as the market is set up, were sent to Durham County Council, as were others voicing support.
Noble’s, who are running the market, claims the rundown high street will benefit from the plans, with custom brought in from East Durham, Wearside and beyond.
John Noble, the company’s boss, said: “It will be very good for the local traders and the market will only serve as an opportunity because their business will double on market day.
“There will be a cross-section of traders and I think it will pull people in from Peterlee, Ryhope, across the area and we’re talking to bus companies about how they can help bring customers in.”
It is hoped the market, which has been backed by Seaham Town Council and a number of the area’s traders, will help draw in a new customer base.
Mr Noble added: “Church Street has been neglected, it’s a dying street unless something is done and this will increase footfall.
“There will be some who don’t want the additional competition, but if the local traders wish to come on the market we will give them a special rate.”
Items to be sold on the market will include cosmetics, jewellery, accessories, tools, shoes, lace and clothing.
A spokesman for the town council said: “The successful delivery of a weekly market on this prominent town centre site will be of substantial benefit to residents and the community of Seaham for generations to come.
“It is our firm opinion that this project is of vital importance to the community and we have worked for a long period of time towards establish a regular market in Seaham.”
However, Matthew Elves, who was one those to raise fears over the stalls, says his business has already been affected by the launch of the nearby shopping centre.
He said: “It will without doubt further diminish trade to a significant number of the current businesses on Church Street, who pay council rates to trade, which have been approximately doubled since Byron Place opened.”
He added the competition will be too great for shop owners because of their overheads, which the stall holders do not have, and the empty shops on the street will be obvious to visitors.
He also doubts it will create the 100 jobs rumoured to come with the market, as they will be traders who are already in the business.