A MARKET trader is hoping to open up shop in Weaver Square after almost a month of delays at its allocated unit.

Julie Clare School Wear, which also trades at Winsford market, lost its premises at Northwich when a devastating fire gutted the outdoor market in the early hours of Friday, January 3.

The eight traders were all offered new space at the indoor market or in empty Weaver Square units, with three already up and running.

Almost a month on, stallholder Neil Hodkinson is hopeful that delays to the fit out of Julie Clare School Wear’s Weaver Square unit will finally be overcome.

“Three of the traders including ourselves have been allocated shops in Weaver Square a month ago, and none of the three have moved in yet because they are not in a lettable state.

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“When we had the meeting with the market manager everything was great. since then we have had no communication and it’s frustrating.

“It’s probably the most devastating thing that has ever happened to the market in Northwich and I don’t accept that is has been handled well enough.

“We have been promised the keys on Friday, but at this point I still don’t know if we will have electricity. We have been going in there with no lights to try and fit it out ready to open.”

A CWAC spokesman confirmed last week that all traders affected by the fire had been offered alternative accommodation – with a three-month rent-free period.

Cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Richard Beacham told the Guardian he was looking into traders’ concerns.

A council spokesman added: “In the days since the fire, the council’s main focus is on the welfare of the market traders 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, February 1.”

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The fundraiser will see dozens of venues host scores of musicians to raise money for the traders.

Neil added: “The fundraiser is absolutely brilliant. Vinnies [café] set up a donation page after the fire and the traders have been supported through that.

“[Music event organiser] Iain [Stead] used to have a stall in the indoor market and what he’s managed to do is fantastic. The traders are all really happy with it.”

Demolition of unsafe parts of the market is ongoing.