TRADERS are queuing up to bag a spot on the new-look Wickford Market.

Trevor Day, who runs the market, has revealed he has a long waiting list of budding entrepreneurs wanting to snap up one of the 28 stalls or three permanent kiosks.

Basildon Council has just handed Cheshire-based Surf & Turf Instant Shelters a £12,000 contract to build 17 gazebos along the High Street and a further 11 down the newly-created Market Lane, which is the walkway down the side of the 99p shop.

Mr Day, who is also in charge of Rochford and Rayleigh markets, said he has had no problem filling the spaces with stalls selling fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, flowers and plants, clothes and jewellery.

He said: “We’re going to have something for everyone.

“We want to have as much variety as possible, but obviously there will be some duplicates as that is unavoidable sometimes.

Hopefully, things will be up and running very soon. We’re really excited.

“The council is putting the finishing touches to the kiosks at the moment and they’re looking brilliant.

“We’re hoping to hold regular themed market events such as vintage fairs, which should bring in a different crowd.”

The council was hoping the new market would be ready to open at the beginning of this month, but this date has now been pushed back a few weeks.

The current indoor market, in Market Avenue – just 400 yards from the High Street, is still open, but traders have struggled to pull customers in while building work is underway.

Alan Ball, Ukip councillor for Wickford Castledon, said: “I must admit I’m surprised the new market has had so much interest, but that can only be a good thing.

“The problem is the old market hasn’t been run properly for years, so hopefully now it can be turned around. I’m a bit up and down with my feelings on the issue, so I want to wait and see what happens.”