New operators are to be sought for the seafront market in Bognor Regis.
Current operator Mac Eastoll is ending his involvement in the three times a week business at the end of next month. (OCT)
He is leaving after 13 years because Arun District Council – which owns the Place St Maur on which the market stands – altered the terms and conditions of his lease.
Mr Eastoll, who runs a purse and wallet stall, said: “I will be sorry to go because the market has been part of my life but I have made up my mind to go.
“I’ve been here for 20 years in all and I think the market is important to the town.
“I don’t think people appreciate how much we get people out of Butlin’s to spend their money in the town.
“I’m sure the market will continue. The tender for its operation will be issued soon and people will be interested in it.
“The market is very popular. This year has been the worst yet but I think that’s more to do with the weather we’ve had than anything else.”
Barnham resident Mr Eastoll, 65, will continue to run a business importing goods from China.
He has operated the market on Saturdays all year round and Tuesdays and Thursdays in the spring, summer and autumn.
It has permission for up to 30 stalls. Tuesday saw 21 in business. Arun is drawinup tender documents to find the new market operator.
Town councillors meeting on Monday feared any loss of the market would further damage the town centre.
Cllr Roger Nash said: “It’s very important we keep a close eye on the situation. What we don’t want is the loss of another facility in the town.”
Cllr Paul Wells said: “We should write to Arun to find out what is going to happen with that site and the market.”
The town council has set up a Task and Finish Group to look at how the Place St Maur could be made more attractive.
It will also identify any agencies to help with agreed proposals and to see what funding is available to pay for any work.
Cllrs Eileen Anderson, Jeanette Warr and Kim Davis became founder members of the group.
The council is also asking representatives from the market, the Mountbatten Court residents, the Regis Centre, The Regis operator Whitbread, Arun District and neighbouring shops to join the group.
Town mayor Cllr Jim Brooks said: “It was a very good meeting to get up the Task and Finish Group.
“It was very positive and a local charity has already offered £2,300 to help tidy up the area.”