CREWE'S £200m facelift plans have been delayed sparking concern among traders struggling to make a living on the town market.
Work on the massive transformation had been expected to start early this year but red-tape over the size of the scheme and the consultations needed with interested parties will prevent builders setting foot on site until 2008.
Final designs have shown the planned shopping centre, fronted by Debenhams, falls 2% outside the town centre boundary which means the scheme will need further agreement by councillors at a meeting tomorrow.
Key elements include flattening Delamere House, Wellington House and the Crosville Club to make way for an ultra modern shopping centre and new bus station.
A section of the outdoor market, currently under old tin covers, will be axed to make way new council offices at the back of the Municipal Buildings.
Stall-holders are upset over the delays and the uncertainty triggered over their future.
They are worried the shift of the shopping focal point from the market end of town to the bus station side could have a dramatic impact on their takings.
Terry Jones, who runs a cosmetics stall and is chairman of the National Market Traders' branch in Crewe, said: 'We have met with the council on a regular basis to ask what is going on with the plans, and the last we heard was that nothing would happen this year.
'Traders weren't very happy about the development at first, because we did not feel secure about it. At the moment the market is not taking the revenue it should, and we feel the town council is trying to get rid of us.'
Keith Morgan, whose family have run a stall on the market for more than 40 years, said some traders were so concerned they planned to close.
'We keep on having meetings, and it keeps getting put back.'
Council chief executive Paul Ancell said: 'The scheme is taking longer than anticipated to get off the ground but that is nothing unusual with a development of this size.
'Although a part of the outdoor market will be needed for office space, the area on Lyceum Square will be revamped to create a smart area which will reap the benefit of many more people visiting Crewe to shop.'