TRADERS have been told they can only have a stall in a new market hall if they stop objecting to the scheme.
Chester City Council wrote to its current market tenants this week outlining the terms and conditions for leases at the new market hall, which would replace the current hall as part of the Northgate Development.
The letter, sent by principal management surveyor Chris Dingsdale, says the agreement for the lease is dependent on the withdrawal of any objection to:
Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) associated with the Northgate Scheme
The Chester Corporation Act 1929
Proposed Road Closure Orders
A public inquiry began this week into compulsory purchase orders planned as part of the Northgate Development.
The inquiry is expected to run for the next two weeks at Regus House, Herons Way, Chester Business Park.
Electrical goods trader Vic Button is one of several people due to voice concerns about the market's future at the inquiry on Wednesday, November 9.
He described the council's letter as 'a threat' and said: 'It is diabolical we should be put in the position where our jobs are threatened.
'I have no doubt that I will continue with my objections. It is a public market and we should be protected by the council yet they are the very people threatening us.'
Under proposals for the scheme, the new two-tier market hall will be built in two phases after the old market is closed, which traders say goes against the Chester Corporation Act 1929, a local law laying out the rights and conditions of the market.
Mr Button collected 1,100 names of people opposed to the closure of the market.
The council says traders will be able to relocate to the new market hall but stall-hold-ers want to know why they have not been offered guaranteed places.
A Chester City Council spokesperson said: 'If tenants agree to the proposals for a stall at the new market it is only logical that they withdraw any objections to the CPOs, Act and road closures. To accept a new lease and at the same time object to the CPOs is unsustainable. This is the standard approach local authorities take when dealing with objections to CPOs.'