Ingliston to shut down after bid to find new home stalls

INGLISTON Sunday Market will shut down this weekend after the owners failed to find a new home.

The market is closing because the site is expected to be swallowed up if proposals to build a second main runway at the nearby Edinburgh Airport go-ahead.

But stallholders are furious and accuse market bosses of misleading them over claims the attraction was set to re-open elsewhere. They have hit out at owners Spook Erections after claiming to have been told that a proposed move to Uphall will not go ahead because the site does not hold the appropriate licence.

Spook Erections, which operates several markets throughout Scotland, said earlier this year that negotiations to move to another site were "well-advanced".

But they have told traders that they are unable to go ahead with a proposed move to Uphall.

A spokeswoman for Spook Erections said it was regrettable that the planned move was not finalised.

"We were very much hoping to have a smooth transition, but unfortunately things are not running as smoothly as we would have liked. We have got another site, but certain details are not yet in place. On Sunday, we will be issuing leaflets to all the traders telling them what's going on."

But one stallholder, who did not wish to be named but has run a stall at Ingliston for nine years, blamed the market owners for leaving them without a home.

She said: "We were assured by Spook Erections that they would find a new site. They have had people working on the site at Uphall, but I believe that they were put off the site last week because it does not have a licence.

"Where do we go now, do we join the dole queue? There have been traders who have been there for 32 years. For some of us, this is our main job, our main livelihood. We have been told that the move to another site will be delayed, but it is not known by how long.

"Every trader is up in arms about this, we are panicking, we have thousands of pounds worth of stock."

The market will open for the last time at Ingliston tomorrow after 32 years of trading. Around 500 stalls usually operate at the market every week. However, its popularity has waned over the years and many traders are believed to have left after the closure was announced in February.

The market became a target for trading standards officials on the lookout for pirate CDs and DVDs. Several rogue traders were banned from operating at the market in a crackdown on counterfeit goods earlier this year.

Trading standards officers seized more than 5 million worth of counterfeit DVDs as traders fled the scene last year.

City council leader Donald Anderson worked on a haberdashery and fabrics stall at the market as a teenager. He said: "It is quite sad to hear that it is closing, but I think that its time has come and gone, it is not what it was. This is the end of an era though."

THE FACTS

FOUNDED in July 1973, Ingliston was once renowned as one of Europe's biggest outdoor markets. About 500 stalls and car-boot traders were drawn to the market every Sunday, selling everything from bric-a-brac, electrical and household goods to DVDs and clothes.

Located on Glasgow Road in the car park of the Ingliston Showground, where the Royal Highland Show draws hundreds of thousands of people every summer, the Sunday market in its heyday attracted up to 400 coach-loads of shoppers each week from England and boasted more than 2700 stalls.

The showground itself is under threat from plans to expand Edinburgh Airport. There are massive financial implications involved in relocating the event, since the site generates 250 million for the Scottish economy.