The Birmingham Post reports today that traders at Birmingham’s wholesale markets are facing years stuck at the “not fit for purpose” Digbeth site following delays to plans to move them out of town.
Wholesalers have been forced to put up with leaking roofs and potholes at the 35-year-old markets, but were last year promised a new home in Witton, touted as a potential food tourism destination recognised on a European scale.
But now Prupim, the council’s preferred bidder to develop the new site at The Hub, has admitted its original timescale had been revised and said no planning permission had yet been submitted for the next generation markets.
Under Prupim’s original plans, traders would have moved to Witton, the former premises of IMI, by January 2012. Now wholesalers have no idea when the move will go ahead.
Now the 4,000 businesses dependant on the wholesale markets face a period in limbo waiting for the consultation and planning application process to finally go through.
Peter Marshall, director of fruit and vegetable wholesaler Hegashall, said: “We’re very much in limbo. We can’t invest here because we don’t know how long we are going to be here.
“We can’t think about getting new kit – things like new fridges and racking – because we could be here for another three years or another 10 years.”
Birmingham City Council acknowledged last year when it announced plans for the move that the current site was “no longer fit for purpose”.
But insisted it had never spoken in terms of timescales for the markets’ relocation.