YORK Road market is being demolished – from the inside out.
Workmen have moved in to the Victorian market in Southend and are knocking down internal walls and have removed the roof.
The market was closed in October last year amid health and safety fears and in January councillors voted to demolish the market.
Fed up traders near the market said they were pleased something was being done.
James Taylor, of Taylor and Son Jewellers, said trade had suffered because people were put off by the eyesore.
He said: “I understand the main thing that is holding up the progress is turning off the supplies, like the electricity. The phone lines were taken out about a month ago. Once it’s gone, it should be a lot better.
“They are trying to do as much as they can at the moment without doing anything structural.
“They are really just taking out the windows and the roof down. They can’t move any real machinery in but there is a digger round the back.
“We are looking positive for this summer for trading.”
Neset Koch, owner of Royal Fish and Chips, in York Road, agreed that the derelict building had a negative impact on the area.
He said: “Nobody is coming down here because the market is gone. At the end of the day we all have to pay rates and council tax. It is really, really hard.
“All of the shop owners will be glad because people can at least see our shops.
“The view looks horrible. It is not attractive. You know the saying ‘out of sight out of mind’? This is our problem.”
Labour councillor Stephen George opposed the decision made by the council.
He said: “I would rather have seen it saved. We suggested it be turned into an art and cultural centre, providing shops and workshops for local artists.
“It is a pity, because it is part of Southend’s history.
“I suspect once it is demolished it will be converted into car parking and although the traders might welcome the decision, I think in the long term it would have been better if they had done something to attract more people.”
Sally Holland, Southend council’s corporate director of support services, confirmed demolition work on York Road market had commenced.
She said: “Preparatory work for the demolition of the market began on Tuesday last week.
“At this stage our contractors are only taking down internal structures and removing fixtures and fittings.
“Actual demolition work is due to start next week and is anticipated to take several weeks.”