The indoor market at the bottom of the derelict former 3M building will soon be a thing of the past when it closes in July.
Shirley Devine, owner of Sew Devine, and Judy Edwards, of Lady Sew and Sew, both had their very last day trading last Saturday (April 12) – having both been there for 30 years.
The two businesses sell sewing and materials.
Ms Edwards expressed her sadness at leaving the indoor market, which is open Fridays and Saturdays.
She said: “I’ve been trading here for nearly 30 years.
“They [the council] never even spoke to us, but it’s the residents who are losing out.” Ms Devine echoed the sentiment, adding: “We’re devastated. It’s frustrating because we have been here for 30 years.
“We are being pushed into this situation. To think my sons aren’t going to run it for another 30 years is sad. I remember 10 years ago the council saying they were going to offer us an indoor area.” A public consultation found people favoured tearing down the old 3M building – officially called Winchester House – and creating an outdoor market.
However, Ms Devine said moving outdoors would be impractical for their stall, saying: “We would need vans to move all our stock. It’s sad for Bracknell customers; they’re being let down, those who can’t travel will lose out.” Helen Winsper, from Crown Wood, who has been a customer at Sew Devine for 20 years, said: “I think it’s disgusting. We don’t want an open market, there’s nothing else like this and it’s being taken away.” Sandra Milnthorpe, from Roman Hill, came down especially for the business’s last day, and said: “I’ve been coming here for years and years and I knew they were going today so I thought I’ll come one last time. The indoor market still needs to have a home.” Ian Devine, who has run the Sew Devine stall with his mother Shirley, said: “We’ve had this hanging over us for years. We lived in hope that they would put us inside, but it’s the end of an era.” Both businesses will focus on their shops elsewhere; Sew Devine has premises in Reading and Lady Sew and Sew has a base in Marlow. The council has said a replacement indoor market is not 'financially viable’ .
A temporary outdoor market will be introduced in July, when the indoor market shuts and the four remaining businesses there have to move out.
This will be based in Bracknell High Street for about two years before moving to Market Square, following the redevelopment of the site of the former 3M building.