CHESHIRE West and Chester Council has said that 'potentially unsafe' elements of the fire-damaged Northwich Outdoor Market will be demolished in the coming week.

This update comes amid concerns raised by indoor market traders over communication between the council and themselves.

Traders say that they feel ‘uncared for’ by the council as they have not been kept in the loop over future plans for the market area following the fire.

They have described the scene as similar to that of a ‘warzone’, with demolition and construction projects currently taking place.

On one side is the demolition of Weaver Square shopping precinct, which will see the flattening of ten units along with adjoining canopies.

A construction site sits on the opposite side of Watling Street, as land formerly occupied by council offices is transformed into a four-storey, 70-apartment block for the over 55s.

To the west of the market is the fire-ravaged outdoor market, some of which has already been demolished to allow firefighters tackle the fire.

“We want to see the council come up with a timeline of what is going to be done,” one indoor market trader told the Guardian.

“Traders feel uncared for, and there is a lot of unease from us towards the council.

“It is the not knowing what is going to happen that is the main problem.

“There has got to be a plan for the future in place, as at the moment, traders are unable to forward plan in terms of stock.”

They went on to say: “Businesses at the market are really struggling at the minute, so I would urge the people of Northwich to come down and support us.

“It would be nice to see more people walking around the market, even just to give the place a bit more of an atmosphere.”

In response, a spokesperson for Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “The council owns the 55-year-old Northwich Outdoor Market building which was damaged by fire on Friday, January 3.

“Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the fire and for the people of the town who have only recently recovered from the flood that occurred before Christmas

“Since the fire, all traders have been offered accommodation in the indoor market with a rent-free period of three months.

“Seven of the eight traders affected have taken up the offer from the council and are now back and trading.

“The remaining trader has decided to trade from Winsford Market were they also had a stall.

“The demolition that has taken place to date has allowed the fire service to suppress the fire in an area of the building that they were unable to reach, and this was undertaken at their instruction.

“While the investigation is continuing into whether any of the existing structure can be saved and reused, we are not able to provide information on the extent of the damage and future plans.

“The council has acted in response to all of the instructions that we have received from the fire service.

“The council’s insurers have asked for selective demolition of certain elements of the structure and fabric of the building that are deemed to be potentially unsafe, and this is likely to take place in the coming week.

“In the days since the fire, the council’s main focus is on the welfare of the market traders whose businesses have been affected.

“The council is helping them to get back to business over the next couple of months, including supporting the upcoming music event taking place on Saturday, 1 February.”

Richard Beacham, CWAC cabinet member for housing, regeneration and growth, added: “I visited market traders and businesses in the vicinity of the market building yesterday to talk to them and understand their concerns.

“They raised a number of points with me, which I noted down and will take away and look into.

“We understand that people need to know what is going on, and I aim to ensure that communication with the council and dialogue with myself is always open.”