TRADERS at Prestatyn market have discussed their future plans amid the uncertainty brought about by its imminent closure which has left them ‘annoyed’ and ‘devastated’.

Thursday, November 18 will be the market’s final day of trading at its site on Gas Works Lane after it was sold by Northern Markets, ahead of the building of the new Home Bargains shop in its place.

The new Home Bargains store, which is set to include a garden centre, is expected to create more than 70 jobs.

The market, which opened in 1973 and also holds car boot sales, has been open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and has been comprised of roughly 150 stalls.

Denbighshire County Council confirmed it has spoken with a representative for the traders about a potential new site in Prestatyn for a market, but no concrete plans have been put in place as yet.

Rhyl Journal: Prestatyn market, which opened in 1973, will close later this weekPrestatyn market, which opened in 1973, will close later this week

Nigel, a trader at the site for 30 years, said he is one of ‘about six or seven’ at the market who will set up stalls at the indoor Christmas market at the ‘Salford by the Sea’ children’s holiday camp on Victoria Road West in Prestatyn.

If the event, which is being held on Sunday, November 21, proves a success, it is hoped that a market at the site will become a more regular occurrence.

Though, Nigel said he felt ‘sad’ about the Prestatyn market closure, adding: “There are a lot of people on here that come just for the chat; they don’t buy anything, they just come for a cup of coffee and to say hello.

“Through COVID, some of them suffered serious mental problems because they couldn’t get out, so this is like an escape for them.

“You’ve got a Home Bargains here anyway (on High Street, Prestatyn). Why do they want another here?

“(Given) the size of this place here, you could have a market and a Home Bargains here. We could have easily have just had two rows of a market here.”

Doug Walsh, who is co-manager of the ‘Salford by the Sea’ children’s holiday camp, said he hopes next weekend’s indoor Christmas market channels the community spirit that he always felt when visiting Prestatyn market himself.

The Christmas market at the camp will be open from 9am – 2pm on November 21 (9am start for sellers, 10am opening for buyers), and will feature solely new, first-hand goods.

Tables can be booked by sellers from £8 depending on size, but must be paid for in advance and are non-refundable, while breakfasts and light refreshments will also be available.

A tombola and a bottle stall will also take place to help raise money for the camp.

Doug said: “We’ve said we’ll see how it goes and whether we might take it on as a permanent or semi-permanent thing which we may do once a month as a market. It’s just a little bit of a trial.

“When I was speaking to the traders, I felt sorry for them, because that’s their livelihood. We have vacant rooms, and usually we can’t have markets when we have school children in, but certainly at weekends, we can do what we want. It is all new stuff, no second-half stuff.

“It’s a community, at the end of the day, I have walked round Prestatyn market many times and sat and had a burger and a natter, and that’s what it’s about.”

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Paul Lawson, from Birkenhead, has been a trader at Prestatyn market ‘on and off for 25 years’ selling household items, and said that, while he is sad about its closure, he feels ‘more annoyed that the council hasn’t relocated it’.

Rhyl Journal: Paul Lawson, who has been has been a trader at Prestatyn market ‘on and off for 25 years’Paul Lawson, who has been has been a trader at Prestatyn market ‘on and off for 25 years’

He added: “They (Denbighshire County Council or Prestatyn Town Council) are not interested in relocating it; they don’t want it. They’re not looking to help anyone.

“I’ve tried umpteen sites up this way to try and get land to rent so we could move from one place here straight to another next week, but we’re hitting a brick wall.

“It’s a living, isn’t it? Plus, you meet a lot of friends - 90 per cent of these people I know. A lot of old-aged pensioners come here to have a laugh, a joke and a natter.

“I can go somewhere else, but I’m more bothered about the (other) traders here and the older people. You make a lot of friends, young and old.

“At the end of the day, we have to have an outlet for our stuff, and regarding recycling, there’s nothing better than selling it again, rather than throwing it into landfill.”

In response to Paul’s comments, a spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: “We have been in discussions with a representative acting on the traders’ behalf. So far, no suitable site has been identified.

“Any potential site for a temporary market in the town would be subject to the planning process.”

Efforts were also made to contact Prestatyn Town Council for a response to Paul’s comments.

Angela Payne, from Prestatyn, began selling possessions such as colouring books, pencils, jewellery and knitted items at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and hopes an alternative site within Prestatyn can be found for the market.

Rhyl Journal: Angela Payne, who began trading at Prestatyn market at the start of the COVID-19 pandemicAngela Payne, who began trading at Prestatyn market at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Angela said: “I’ll see where they’re going and what they’re doing. I’d like to stay in Prestatyn. We’ll found somewhere, hopefully. There are a few possible places that they’re looking at.

“I’ve been saying this for years and years; it’s definitely not what it used to be, but it’s more of a community. The older generation can sit there and have a cup of coffee and a chat.

“It’s going to affect them more than anything. It’s like a big family.”

Sean Robinson, from Gronant, has been at Prestatyn market for 20 years selling second-hand household goods, and said he is ‘devastated’ by its closure, and refuted the idea that a market such as that in Prestatyn is outdated nowadays.

Sean said: “I’m devastated, especially when there’s nowhere to go. It’s a very friendly market; that’s what I love about it. You chat to everyone and they look after your store if you go away; it’s brilliant.

“It’s an awful situation. I’ve tried a few places but they changed their plans or apparently just wanted new stuff again. 99 per cent of people have told me they want this (second-hand) stuff; if they want new stuff, they’ll go to the shops.

“Bury market is thriving, still. You can get coaches that will take you there. This one got run down obviously because they wanted to sell it; if they would’ve kept it, it would’ve been alright, I reckon.

“There are a few people I know in Prestatyn and though COVID, this kept them going. They’d have (otherwise) been at home with nothing to do.

“They loved coming down here and talking to everyone. I have a laugh with them all. It’s a day out for them, in a way.”

Rhyl Journal: Sean Robinson said he is 'devastated' by the Prestatyn market closureSean Robinson said he is 'devastated' by the Prestatyn market closure

Jay Bowman, from Runcorn, has been trading at the market for ‘five or six years’ and hopes that any new market site in Prestatyn remains within the centre of the town to make it more accessible to those travelling from further afield.

Jay said: “It’s my livelihood, and it’s good for the community. It’s just not been looked after very well; it’s been neglected and been left to be run down, hence why I think it’s been pushed to be sold.

“Look at the state of the stalls and the lack of maintenance of them. They’re not the safest.

“I’ve made some good friends on here; stall holders as well as customers. There’s a big social aspect of it.

“Hopefully someone finds somewhere. I’d like to be within the centre, so you’ve got the train and bus station (nearby); you can get a lot of people out.

“The places that have been mentioned are more in-between places, so they’re harder to get to for people on public transport, or who walk.”

Prestatyn resident Diane Highton, who has been visiting the market regularly since it opened in 1973, said she was ‘extremely upset’ when she heard of its closure.

Diane said: “It gives them a great joy that they have the retail experience without having to have a lot of money. I think that’s a massively advantageous thing for the local people.

“I was extremely upset (when she heard it was closing); it shouldn’t happen. It’s sociable, it’s joyous, it’s jolly, it’s got a great deal of happiness about it.

“It’s wrong that it should have come to a finish; it should have been looked after. It’s central; everyone can get to it. You get old ladies and people in wheelchairs going around; it gives them some pleasure.

“This is just another shop that we’ve got coming. Why should it always be about money?”

A spokesperson from Northern Markets, which has managed the site prior to its recent sale, said in response: "The market has been smashed to pieces for years. We haven’t charged enough rent to pay to repair it.”

The Northern Markets spokesperson also claimed that the police ‘hadn't backed them up with assistance’ and that people in the past had been photographed ‘smashing up the place’ and ‘setting fire to it’.

In July 2019, it was announced that greater efforts were being made to prevent a spate of ‘disturbing’ incidents of anti-social behaviour at Prestatyn market, following an increase in the number of deliberate fires started at the site and on nearby grassland.

The Northern Markets spokesperson added: “I’ve charged that little rent so we could never make a profit, and people don’t see all these things, so it was no longer a viable thing. The best thing was to sell it.

“All people see is the market in a shabby state, which it has been for a long time, but we haven’t charged enough to be able to rebuild the market.”

In response to this, a North Wales Police spokesperson said: “We are aware that the market did have issues with arson and criminal damage, notably a number of fires towards the end of 2020 with skips and other items left on the market site being set alight by youths.

“All offences were investigated appropriately by local officers.”