ANGRY market traders are considering a blockade of the new Asda store when it opens early next month.
According to traders' federation secretary Brian Hannaway, the move has been considered by a 'few militant' members as a result of a 'broken promise' by the borough council over the timing of the opening of the £25m store.
He said: 'We had a cast-iron guarantee from senior council officials that we would be allowed into the new market, which is in the old Asda store, before the new store opens next door.
'Now we are being told we will be expected to go in on Sunday, August 6 with Asda opening the day after.
'That gives us no chance to get established before we face major competition from the store.
'Many of us are struggling as it is - living on the breadline and unable to pay mortgages. This is another slap in the face.'
Mr Hannaway added: 'Some traders are saying they will only move in when it suits them, which will probably be in January.
'A few of the more militant ones are threatening to do something to try to stop Asda opening on August 7, like maybe blocking off the entrance.
'This is not the federation's official position but I do have sympathy with the people who are saying this as the council's broken promise has made them angry. We want a meeting with top council officials to sort this out.'
The council's head of property and support services Jane Williamson said: 'The council has recently been notified by Asda's contractor HBG that the council's new market is scheduled to be completed on August 6. This is three weeks later than planned as the conversion work proved to be more complicated than anticipated and this has led to some unavoidable delays.
'Market traders have been informed of this date so they can plan accordingly.
'Asda are also hoping that they can open their new store at the same time and a meeting has been arranged with Asda to discuss this proposal.'