Market traders and members of the public have differing opinions on possible changes to the layout of the Salisbury Charter Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Rumours of proposed changes that began to circulate on Tuesday, February 27 were confirmed after an email was sent to traders the following day and seen by the Journal.

The officer accused some market traders of spreading news of the proposals via “Chinese Whispers”.

Read more: Salisbury Market trader concerned about proposals on layout changes

The Journal asked market traders and marketgoers on Tuesday, March 12 their thoughts and concerns about possible changes.

Michael Rose, 82, has worked on the market for 74 years, his family having owned and operated Roses of Salisbury since the Victorian era.

Michael said: “I don’t think anybody really wants to move.”

Michael said he has seen a lot of changes in his more than seven decades operating the stall for his family’s long-established watch sale and repair business, with the public right-of-way that crosses the Market Place diagonally only recently disregarded during the covid pandemic.

Michael said: “The pathway has to be clear because it’s a public right-of-way. It’s weird; they think they can get away with it.

“It was always clear, even when it was a car park.”

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Mike Withers, 81, who used to work for Salisbury District Council and later Wiltshire Council, with one of his roles being market superintendent, said the more open feel of the market contradicts the tradition many may prefer.

Mike said: “The problem with markets is people like them to be traditional- walking between the stalls and looking. What they’ve done here now is, I wouldn’t say bad, but they’ve opened it up very wide and there’s a lot of opened spaces here- some people would say wasted space. People who like traditional markets probably don’t like this as much.

“If you look at markets anywhere in the country- traditional markets, they’re usually fairly compact and close together, the stalls. People like walking through them and browsing. When it’s opened up like this, it’s easier to see but it’s not so attractive.”

Darren Barrett, 54, of Swedish Bakery Studio Romsey, doesn’t believe changing the location of his stall on the market square would be a threat to his business.

Darren said: “As long as people know where to find or as long as people can in theory find us- for example, the other week we were in Winchester, the weather was awful. The wind was coming down the high street so they cancelled the market, but for some of us guys who had prepared stuff, they said: ‘You can go around the corner onto Middle Brook Street.’

“So we relocated around the corner, and you know what I got? New customers, customers I hadn’t seen before, because they’re on their predefined route, and I said: ‘This is temporary, we’re around the corner,’ and they come back to where you are.

“As long as you communicate, I don’t think it’s a big deal.”