Devastation as indoor market closesBy Jonathan Low
October 22, 2012
Traders and customers are devastated after Wokingham’s indoor market closed its doors for the final time on Saturday.
The market, in the old Peacocks store in Denmark Street, started in August and was on a three-month trial to help increase footfall in the town.
But after Wokingham Town Council failed to reach an agreement with the landlord to extend the trial and Lloyds TSB submitted an application to move to the unit, the market was forced to close.
“It’s a real shame because it is a perfect place,” said stallholder Joanne Jenkinson, who sold ‘pre-loved’ clothes and shoes.
“There are changing rooms and mirrors so for people like me who sell clothes it’s ideal.
“It’s a great social place because you meet so many different people.
“I’ve really enjoyed it and I hope they will bring something back.”
June Fisher from Posche Bags, added: “Wokingham is a market town so it needs markets like this one.
“The people of Wokingham want something like this and they love it.
“We, as traders are really unhappy the market has had to close, but the customers too are disappointed.
“It’s a lovely environment and everyone has said it’s a shame, without exception.”
Sue Ruston, also from Posche Bags, said: “The traders here support other shops because we bring customers to the town, so it works both ways.
“The talk of regeneration should be to make it a market town, not a banking one – it’s very disappointing.”
Susanne Sims, from Phoenix & Eagle, who offer therapies and spiritual sessions said fewer people would visit the town if the market closed.
She said: “The town will die because there are just too many restaurants.
“The market’s definitely been something worth doing but it’s shame it can’t continue.”
The sentiment of disappointment and sadness was echoed by customers.
Valerie Milam, 48, from Finchampstead, said: “It’s very sad.
“I pop in quite often because there is a wide variety of products on sale.
“It’s a shame the market’s closing because I would have loved for it to stay open until Christmas.”
The closing of the market has led to many of the traders facing an uncertain future.
Sonia Paul from Lotus Eye, said: “I am very disappointed.
“People haven’t been aware of us here and they’ve been coming in and not realised it is going to close.
“I may move to Reading instead.”
Wokingham Town councillor Gwynneth Hewetson, who championed the project, said: “We are all really disappointed.
“We have looked for an alternative but there aren’t any options we can find. Maybe something will crop up later but it won’t be in time for Christmas which was the key as far as we were concerned.
“It was good to try it and some traders have got off the ground now and will hopefully be able to continue running.”