Paddy's Market now set for a change

29 Oct 2008

The final death knell has been sounded for Glasgow's historic Paddy's Market. Pleas to overturn a decision to close the market and transform it into an arts and crafts centre were thrown out at a special meeting of the city council.

Council officials claimed none of the people currently trading at Paddy's had a market licence so the market was effectively being run illegally.

But they appeared to offer an olive branch to existing stallholders, saying they had a place in the new set-up if they became "legitimate traders".

And they dismissed suggestions they were trying to "yuppify" or "gentrify" the market which was opened in the 19th century by an Irish immigrant to sell cheap goods to poor citizens.

The decision came after angry protesters joined in a demonstration outside Glasgow City Chambers yesterday.

Traders and opposition councillors had argued that the business provides employment for 80 people and has a historical significance for the city.

Those against the market's closure planned to hand in a petition with thousands of signatures of people against the axe plan.

Executive member for regeneration councillor George Ryan said: "There will be a place for legitimate traders within Paddy's.

"We don't have new traders lined up, we don't have a plot to cleanse Paddy's Market and gentrify it."

He told SNP councillors who were trying to force a change of mind: "I want a good thriving market, an alternative market to places like Buchanan Galleries."

The market has been under attack for months for its soaring levels of crime including drug dealing and the selling of pirate DVDs.

Director of development and regeneration Steve Inch insisted the plan for the area did not include throwing out all the traders who currently operate from the railway arches at the Shipbank Lane site.

He told the meeting yesterday afternoon: "There is no intention to yuppify the market. We need to keep traders on site to run the market."

And he claimed that traders who were defined as "legitimate" could be temporarily housed in council-run markets or the Barras until Paddy's was upgraded.

Mr Inch said he had sent letters to Paddy's Market traders asking them to contact the council but that none had responded.

He said a feasibility plan into the future of the site would be carried out by Christmas and that plans for the new-look market would be complete by May next year.

Mr Inch said existing traders had until then to get in touch with the council which will take over the lease from existing owners Network Rail.

But despite attempts to reassure traders, stallholders were sceptical about the plan.

Carol Salvona, who runs a stall with her sister, said: "Some of the language was encouraging but the bottom line is they want us out.

"We don't care what they say, we believe they have ulterior motives.

"We have never had any letters from the council and we have never been consulted in any way.

"If we had to get market trader licences we would get them. We are happy to meet and talk but we have never had the opportunity."

The meeting was held to hear two appeals - or call-ins - by councillors who opposed the plans to close the market and take over the lease of the site from Network Rail.

One, led by SNP councillor Craig Mackay, objected on the grounds that the council were insisting on vacant possession of the premises, effectively evicting' stallholders while the premises were upgraded.

The second, led by Green councillor Dr Nina Baker, claimed there was no business plan in place and that the proposal was financially flawed.

A motion by councillor Kenny McLean opposing the closure was defeated by 11 votes to five.

Reproduced with the permission of The Evening Times (Glasgow) © Newsquest (Herald & Times) Ltd.



  • Paddy's Market in Shipbank Lane