FURIOUS traders fear their businesses will be “killed off” after their market was moved to a car park.

In June, Chichester District Council relocated the city’s historic market away from bustling North Street and East Street in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

But traders who have hawked their wares for decades now say their temporary home in the Cattle Market car park is choking them of business.

Linenware seller Nick Warren claimed his customer numbers are down 80 per cent compared with before the pandemic.

“I didn’t know they were going to move the market here. I need to be in the city centre,” said the 59-year-old, who has run his stall for 30 years.

“Out here, my footfall is down by 80 per cent.

“My regular customers from the city centre who managed to find me here told me they had thought the market was still shut and they hadn’t realised we’d been moved to a car park until they found us by chance.

“We need it moved back to the street, where people expect it to be.”

Meanwhile shoe seller Andy Matthie claimed traders had been forgotten by the district council.

“Being in the car park is a disaster, they are going to kill the market off,” said the 62-year-old, who has been selling shoes in Chichester for more than 40 years.

“I genuinely feel the council has let the people of Chichester down.

“People have been used to a Wednesday market in the town for years,”

“It’s central and bring lots of people into the centre of the town, which benefits everyone, shoppers, retailers and the market traders alike.

“We’ve seen footfall drop by much more than 25 per cent and that means our takings are down substantially also.

“We can’t carry on like this.

“I’ve seen some of my regulars be dropped off in a taxi, but they are not happy about it.”

Market gardener James Bainbridge said his takings have halved since the market was moved.

“Many of my customers didn’t even know where we are now based. It’s a disgrace,” he said.

“The customers don’t like leaving the town centre to come here it’s out of the way and we’re missing all the passing trade.

“Moving the market to this car park out of the town centre has been a double disaster.

“Our takings are down by 50 per cent.

“I can see no good reason why we can’t go back to the city centre now.

“Chichester has had a market in the town for about 400 years and that’s where everyone expects to find it.”

Market manager Sam Theuma, of Bray Associates, claimed traders were moved “with little or no consultation”.

And some customers also feel the market should be moved back to the city centre’s shopping streets.

“For the good of the town and tourists, the market should be back in the centre,” said Matt Smith, 45.

“It’s been there for hundreds of years and that’s where it should stay, not in a car park on the edge of the centre.”

Chichester district councillor Sarah Sharp called on the council to move the market back to its former location.

“The market should be in the town centre where it’s available to everyone,” the Green councillor said.

“I fully support bringing the market back to the centre streets and I am disappointed some of my council colleagues aren’t doing more to rectify the situation before we lose any more traders.

“It has been reported there are around 400 markets in the UK under threat.

“We must make sure this historic market isn’t one of them.”

Chichester District Council did not respond to requests for a comment.

The concerns came as the National Association of British Market Authorities industry group claim 10,000 market traders are at risk of closing for good in the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The group said there has also been a 60 per cent drop in market customers across the country.

And the association says councils have been forced to reduce to number of trade stalls by up to 20 per cent.