The first stage of an £18 million market development is about to begin.

The remaining traders from Brighton’s Open Market have started moving out of units some of them have operated from for more than 30 years.

As they move into temporary accommodation in nearby Francis Street, developers will start work on a major development to transform the area between London Road and Ditchling Road.

The development will include a new covered market with 44 stalls, a central square for visiting farmers markets and entertainment and 12 artisan workshops.

Developer Hyde will also provide 87 affordable homes on the site while the market will be managed by a community interest company which will include traders on the board.

It is thought about 100 jobs will be created while 80 full-time workers, as well as apprentices being trained, will be needed during the 18 months of construction work.

Brighton and Hove City Council cabinet member Ian Davey said: “It’s such a proud moment to get this major project off the ground for the city.

“It should provide a catalyst for the regeneration of London Road and become a real hub of the community.”

Barrow traders first used the present site in 1926 with permanent stalls being built in 1938.

Café owner Warren Street, 40, whose step-mother opened the stall more than 30 years ago, said: “The market needed something doing to it and it’s good that something is being done to take it forward.

“But there are a lot of memories and a little bit of my step-mum will go with the move.

“I just don’t know how it will affect the customers. It used to be all cheap food and goods but that is likely to change.”

Shopper Paul Chapman, 77, of Hollingdean, Brighton, said: “I first started coming here in the 1960s. You just can’t beat the price of the produce.”

Existing traders will begin operating from Francis Street on Monday, January 9, and remain there for seven months as demolition starts shortly.

The redevelopment is expected to be finished by the summer of 2013.

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