A REVAMPED Open Market opened with a bang at the weekend.

Hundreds of shoppers enjoyed the long-awaited launch of Brighton’s Open Market, between London Road and Ditchling Road.

The 45 traders open for business in the revamped marked said they did a roaring trade.

The redevelopment is part of a £20million regeneration scheme in the London Road area which includes the building of 87 affordable homes.

The Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Peter Field, officially opened the market before entertainment from Chinese Lion Dancers, the Hullaballoo Community Quire and Brighton swing band Her Father’s Daughter.

Shoppers picked up everything from bagels and bananas to balls of wool as they browsed the market’s 45 new stalls.

Pat Mears, 73, who runs the Charlie Mears Fruit and Veg stall, said the crowds were “incredible”.

He added: “It has been fantastic. They have done a really good job with the opening.

“Most towns have a covered market like this now so I think it is really important we have one in Brighton. People are going back to independent traders so I think it will be a huge success.

“We look after our customers with price but we also provide that extra service. Some people come to us with all their troubles, we are part of the community.”

As well as a host of food and drink stalls, there are also a number of art and crafts sellers.

One of those is 60-year-old John Beales, who runs Buttons & Bows.

He said: “It has been packed. Obviously it is not going to be like this all the time but at least people now know we’re here.

“I think it is great people are going back to their independent traders. Not everyone wants to buy things off the internet. Customers want to come and touch, feel or even smell what they are going buy and talk to somebody about it. That’s exactly what you get here.

“There is also a community feel among the stall holders. It is an absolute pleasure to come to work.”

The Open Market site has been used since 1938. However, following the launch of supermarkets it had seen a decline since the 1970s.

The revamp will see 45 regular traders open from Monday to Saturday each week.

Among the sellers include a chilli shop, butchers, a tools and DIY stall, deli, patisserie and a tattoo parlour.

For more details visit www.brightonopenmarket.co.uk.