A PROPOSED new supermarket in Mexborough could prove to be the death knell for the town’s indoor market, traders claim.
Stallholders fear the new store set to be built near the train station will drain trade away from the market, leaving Mexborough a ‘ghost town.’
Developers revealed plans to build a new multi-million pound supermarket at the site of the former South Yorkshire Times base, latterly United Carpets, in Station Road.
Project leaders claim this will increase footfall into the town generally, creating more business for the market and High Street shops.
But traders, who are already facing a 500 per cent council rent increase on their stalls over the next three years, claim the new development will be another nail in the coffin for the market.
In a letter to the Times, card stall owner Hattie Norman said: “Mexborough is already adequately served on the supermarket front by a Co-op, a Tesco express and the new Lidl that is being built right now (just off the bypass).
“As a Mexborough Indoor Market Trader still involved in trying to save the market from closure, I was stunned. If this goes ahead, not only will the market close, but the High Street shops as well.”
She added: “The presenters’ spin on this is that shoppers who use the supermarket will then shop in Mexborough town aswell. What absolute rubbish.
“Everyone knows that shoppers who use these giant supermarkets do a ‘one-stop-shop’ for everything and then take their purchase home.
“The High Street will be left with charity shops and bookmakers. Is that what we want for Mexborough? A ghost town?”
Another trader, Gordon Smith, said they were considering organising a public meeting of their own so people could air their views on the plans.
He said: “Virtually everyone who I have spoken to about the new supermarket say they don’t think it will be a good thing for the market.
“If we can organise a public meeting, and invite local councillors and representatives from the company along, this will give people another chance to put their opinions across.”
Kier Property plan to build a 4, 623sq metre supermarket, along with a petrol station and kiosk.
The store would be complemented by a public plaza to the front and access to the nearby railway station would be improved.
The project is estimated to cost more than £10 million and will create up to 250 full and part-time jobs.
Kier Property has always maintained the new development will support the town’s local economy.
In a statement, released when the company first unveiled the plans last month, director Tom Gilman said: “Our proposals will ensure that the town remains a lively and vibrant place to live and work, the council want to see Mexborough thrive and so do we.
“The store will not only boost the local economy by creating jobs, it will also support other retailers by increasing the number of people who stay in the town to do their shopping.”
Kier Property is currently in talks with various national retailers to operate the store.
The company is aiming to submit a planning application to Doncaster Council later this year.
The firm hopes to open the store by 2013.