Birmingham's Wholesale Market traders say they are bitterly disappointed at being told they will have to leave the city centre within three years.
The traders, who have fought a two- year campaign against eviction from the Pershore Street site, face moving to either the former LDV factory site at Washwood Heath, or the former IMI site at Witton in 2016.
Birmingham City Council, which owns the Wholesale Markets depot, says that staying in Digbeth is ‘unaffordable’ and claims it has private developers lined up to build new market facilities to the traders’ own specifications, which the council could then manage.
It marks some progress for the Wholesale Markets Association which was told two years ago it faced eviction with no relocation plan in place.
Peter Marshall, of the WMA, said: “We wanted to remain in the city centre and are disappointed that the council has dismissed those options.”
He said that they believed that a 15-year refurbishment of the existing site did stack up, but this had been rejected.
“I can’t see how people can make these decisions which affect profitable businesses and say they are unaffordable.”
His colleague Mark Tate added: “Washwood Heath is non-starter because HS2 have set it aside for a train depot.”
The traders, angry that they were not given the costs of various options, have been told they will be shown the financial details if they sign a confidentiality agreement.
Council deputy leader Ian Ward said that either of the two developments would guarantee a Wholesale Market remains in the region for the next 60 years.
“We have no legal duty to provide a wholesale market but we recognise that it is important to the local economy and the food supply chain, which is why we are proposing relocation.
"I know this is not what the traders want to hear but we are in challenging financial times.
“The current Wholesale Market has reached the end of its economic life and is too big for current and future needs.
"Refurbishment or redevelopment of the current site is simply not affordable in the current financial climate.”
The current site has a 30 per cent vacancy rate so the new facilities would be about half the size.
Once vacated the land, which lies within the City Centre enterprise zone, would be sold for development.
Coun Ward pledged that the new development would be used to bolster the Bull Ring retail markets as a key failing in the past has been that too few of the 45 million people who visit the Bullring shopping centre each year venture across the road to the outdoor and indoor markets.