AN outdoor market is set to be relocated next month following a campaign by traders, the Northern Echo understands.

Traders on Darlington's outdoor market have been campaigning for months to move from Market Square because they say it has led to a drop in trade due to reduced footfall, leading to a declining number of businesses attending to sell their wares.

The Northern Echo understands the market will be moved from Market Square from the first weekend in August, and will instead be located in West Row, Tubwell Row and Blackwellgate.

READ MORE: Darlington markets manager defends its record

Trader Angela Smedley, who runs Angie's Diner has been leading the campaign, said: "We're not back where we were but we're moving to the front of the covered market so we will be on the other side of the building.

"We will have better visibility there and be a bit more in the retail part of the town.

"Traders are enthusiastic because they think we will be more visible."

Traders on the market say they have been struggling since being moved from outside shops on High Row and Northgate due to being cut off from the rest of the town's retail offering.

Councillor Libby McCollum, whose Park East ward includes the town centre, said: "I'm glad that the council has finally seen sense and will move the open market back.

"Now it owes it to the traders to promote vigorously the open market, and make it as easy as possible to trade and shop there.

"The open market traders and the town deserve nothing less."

The Labour councillor, who accused the Conservative led Darlington Borough Council of not listening to traders, added: "It has been heart-breaking to see the decline in our open market.

"There simply isn't the footfall in the Market Square to support businesses there."

Michael Nicholson, president of the National Market Traders Federation, who has been supporting the campaign to relocate, said: "We're very pleased.

"It isn't quite where they would have wanted to be but it is a compromise and it should work.

"From what I gather most traders are positive about the move back. They are looking forward to it."

Darlington Borough Council was unable to provide a comment at the time of publication.

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