VOLUNTARY advisers and stallholders at an indoor market have been given 28 days notice to pack their bags after plans were announced to sell the building to a major high street retailer.

Stourport's indoor market houses the town's Citizens Advice Bureau and six traders, who are all being evicted following a deal between the building's owners, Midcounties Co-operative and an, as yet, unnamed clothing retail firm.

The Lombard Street-based occupants were given a month's notice from Wednesday last week to find alternative premises in a move which the Co-op believes will bring a top high street store to the town and deal a blow to Tesco's supermarket bid.

Kate Bennett, CAB branch manager, said: "The Co-op made it quite clear they were giving us more than our agreed seven-day notice period but it's not giving anybody a lot of time.

"I imagine the stall-holders will have trouble because they have stock and equipment."

The CAB branch, which moved into the market more than two years ago, has two offices at the indoor market, advising 20 residents every week.

Mrs Bennett added the advice group was now set to move into premises at Stourport Methodist Church but was struggling to raise enough money to cover refurbishment costs.

Peter Dudley, who runs the Dudley Blind Company, said he believed the Co-op was "running scared".

He said: "Stourport has always been down as a Co-op town but they can't hold on to that if they're going to cost us money."

Tesco is currently building a case for its forthcoming appeal, being heard by the Government's Planning Inspectorate, over Wyre Forest District Council's decision to throw out their proposal to build a store on the former Carpets of Worth site.

Richard Holmes, Co-op's group general manager, said: "We believe the introduction of a major clothing retailer will reinforce the viability of the town centre."

A spokesman for the company added the firm was working with stallholders and the CAB to help them relocate.