Shop owners and workers have complained the derelict Tented Market is damaging their businesses.

Traders have said that the officially named Market Hall, closed since 2017 and covered in graffiti, puts customers off the area.

CVJ Properties have submitted multiple planning applications for the site and the latest granting permission for development into a tower block.

Ian Jones, who works at Great Western Cameras, said: “I think it's a mess. It reflects badly in the town centre and the area. 

“And people don't necessarily want to come down this way because of how bad it looks.”

He added: “When the market was open it was a lot different, because people would always come to the market. It was a draw. It was definitely better when it was open.”

Steve Singh used to run Phonexchange in the Tented Market but since it closed has now moved to Market Street, facing the tent.

He said: “Things are not good right now because that is blocking us. All these businesses, there's 13 of them, they all get blocked.

“It attracts drunks who scare the customers. They’re sitting there making comments about the customers and people are scared.

“They don’t want to walk this way.

“It'd be nice to see something, you know, instead of just a dead building.”

Steve remembered his time in the Tented Market fondly saying it was ‘great’ and ‘lively’, with a community spirit.

One of the draws of the market was its low rates, which attracted a variety of small businesses.

He wished that the market would be either redeveloped into flats or at least a car park, which was the original use of the land.

London development company CJV Properties has submitted multiple planning applications to redevelop the land.

In 2019 it made the latest application, to demolish the market building and replace it with a two-storey complex including a shop, restaurants and cafes, with a tower up to 10 storeys high featuring 68 flats.

It also put in an application for the same two-storey complex without the tower. 

Both applications were granted in December 2020 but work has yet to start.

Ian said: “It is crazy that it is not being used for anything, like community projects.

“There are lots of different things you could do with it, I'm sure."