RAAC: Traders forced to leave Bridgend Market prefer new home which has 'massive buzz'

Video report by ITV Cymru Wales reporter Marina Jenkins.

Traders forced to move from Bridgend Market say they're seeing a "boost in footfall" and there is a "real buzz" after moving into new premises.

ITV Wales first reported in September that 17 businesses had to leave their stalls after dangerous concrete, known as RAAC, was found in the roof.

Since the closure, Bridgend Council has leased a unit in the Rhiw Shopping Centre, which is adjacent to the indoor market.

Coffee shop owner, Chris Pritchard, was initially shocked when told he had a few hours to pack up but says the move has transformed his business.

He said: "There has been a massive difference. It's purely because we've got front-row access to the Rhiw."

The council has leased a unit in the Rhiw Arcade for some of the market traders

Chris added: "Everyone can see us and there's a massive buzz about, that there's a new market in town, a lot of people are coming in for it."

With an increase in footfall, Chris is busier than ever and serving more customers their favourite brew.

He explained: "While I was in the market I would go through around 2 kilograms of coffee a week, now moving out here I’m going through 17 kilograms a week."

Hayley Davies had only just started up her pet shop business in Bridgend Market when she suddenly had to relocate to the Rhiw unit.

"It's basically like starting over again," she said.

"It's been really tough because you are trying to build up a rapport with your customers and then all of a sudden you’ve got this closure.

"It felt like I was letting everybody down, it was really hard. But I have my fingers crossed that we'll move forward now."

Bridgend Market closed in September after RAAC was found in the roof.

A specialist contractor has been appointed by Bridgend County Borough Council to carry out a survey of the Indoor Market.

It's encouraging people to shop local over the festive holidays and said, “one of our key priorities since the closure has been to help traders to reopen before the Christmas period".

A Bridgend County Borough Council spokesperson said: "This (survey) will determine the proposed timescale and costing of any works, as well as the options available to us.

“We are now awaiting the final findings, but it has been already indicated to us that the scale of any works will be significant, which will most likely mean a prolonged closure.

“It’s also important to note that the council leases and does not own the building and therefore requires full landlord’s consent to undertake any work.

They added: "As with all works of this nature, any future decision would go through a detailed process which will include engagement with a variety of key stakeholders."

Eileen Schofield, who has run her business for 17 years, says she prefers the Rhiw Arcade

For 17 years Eileen Schofield sold her craft and kitchen supplies in Bridgend Market.

She said in that time she's seen a decline in the number of people coming through the door, which she claims has resulted in some businesses leaving over the years.

Eileen said even if the market is refurbished: "I personally wouldn’t go back in and some of the units that have gone into the town won’t go back in either.

"So I think the council will have fewer stalls that want to go back, so it may not be viable for them."

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