Eastgate Market should never have moved to its current location in 1974, a founder market trader has said.
Philip Langley, who ran a family butchers stall since 1957 at the original open market on Eastgate Street opposite the Guildhall, said the relocation to its current base inside The Eastgate shopping centre had heralded a change in fortunes.
It is thought there are now around seven empty units.
TK Maxx want to move onto the site and plans are afoot to relocate the market once again.
Mr Langley, 72, said: “It was a traditional food market at one time. There were six butchers, five greengrocers and four fishmongers. There was a man who used to win awards for his bacon. But it all changed.
“Moving it away from Eastgate Street, the council dug their own hole really.
“The traders were never given a lease, instead a licence and so the charges could be reviewed every year. We used to get a three months notice to quit unless we accepted the new charges.
“We moved to the new market because it was supposed to be more modern but it just ended up costing much more money.”
Mr Langley ran a stall with his father Percy Langley since 1957 and became presidents of the traders’ group but quit the market 40 years later in 1997. He now runs his own butchers shop in Andover.
He added that as time went on more and more units were vacated and the days of a quality food market were over. That gave him the push to move away.
Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council, is meeting with traders on January 22 to discuss the potential relocation of the market to make way for TK Maxx.
He said: “I am clear that the future of the market and improving its environment are my priorities.”
The meeting will take place with John Wood, from the Other Retail Group, who run The Eastgate shopping centre.