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Page last updated at 13:45 GMT, Monday, 10 January 2011
Blackburn market butcher packs up stall after 53 years
Frank Littler and Sons
Frank Littler and Sons have been at Blackburn market since the 1860s

A Blackburn market trader, who said he cannot afford to relocate to the new market, fought back tears on his final day after over 50 years trading.

Frank Littler's family has worked at Blackburn market since the 1860s and is one of many stall holders who won't be moving to Blackburn's Mall.

"I'm absolutely devastated," said Mr Littler. "We're very sad to leave."

He said Blackburn with Darwen Council are increasing rent by 162% at the Mall which opens on 5 March.

Instead of relocating to the shopping centre, Frank Littler and Sons will continue at a new shop in Mellor which opens on Wednesday.

Quit the market

Mr Littler's daughter Debbie Kininmonth, who has worked on the family stall for 24 years, is now out of a job.

She said the increase in rent meant they had no choice but to quit the market. "We really wanted to move to the Mall but there was no way we could afford such a massive rise in rent especially in these times."

Councillor Dave Harling, Executive Member for Regeneration, said: "Frank has been a valuable trader on the market for many years and we are disappointed he has decided not to move to the new market."

Mr Harling said more than 90 stalls are already allocated in the £8m new market out of 127 available which will be located on the Mall's lower floor. "We accept it is a difficult transitional time and have reduced current rents to help traders as much as we can.

"When the existing market is vacated, this will form another important development site in the town centre."

Meanwhile, Chris Appleby, the chairman of Blackburn market traders' federation, said that the association is supporting the new market but they are trying to negotiate better terms for stall holders.

'Rents considerably higher'

Inside the new market hall - artist's impression
Half the current traders are not going to the new site at the Mall

Mr Appleby said: "The truth is every trader would dearly like to move into the new market, it's merely a question of whether the deal that is being offered by the council stacks up as a business proposition."

However, he will not be taking his own stall to the Mall.

"My personal decision is at this stage with the deal that is being offered, I will not be moving to the new market," he said.

"The rents are considerably higher in my view than in the existing building and a need to sign a minimum three year deal with effectively no way out of it once you have signed up for it.

"So it's a deal which I personally consider stacked in the favour of the landlord," he added.


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