TRADERS in Kidderminster town centre have raised concerns that market stalls are too close to the front of shops and it could be affecting their businesses.

Annabella Harvey-Lawrence, of Harveys the Jewellers, in the Bull Ring, said nobody thought of the “proper shops” on Thursdays and Saturdays, when market stalls fill Bull Ring, Vicar Street and High Street.

She said she hoped there would be an opportunity during the proposed town centre regeneration, which would see Crown House ripped down and the Bull Ring revamped, to relocate some of the stalls.

Wyre Forest District Council leader, Conservative councillor John Campion, said market stands and shops in the town needed “to be compatible”.

Mrs Harvey-Lawrence said: “The market traders are there to make a living as well so I do not want to take that away from them but it is very, very difficult.”

She added: “If you walk through the town centre you cannot see the shops behind the market stalls. The market organisers do not care where they put their stalls.

“These people come along twice a week, pay their small amount of rental and we have to compete with them and cover our overheads.

You walk up [High Street] and you cannot even tell the mobile phone shops are there. We really do pay an awful lot of rates in this town and it is making life a lot lot harder.

“With the regeneration, they are looking at closing the post office down, and if you put the market there that would help.”

Mr Campion said: “We fully support our market as well as the shops in the town. The two need to be compatible as they get the mutual benefit of the increased footfall.

“It is too early for us to be definite about relocating the market within the new Crown House proposals but there is an opportunity to look at this as part of the new public space layout.”