SHEFFIELD Council has been deluged with last-minute applications for the new Moor Market - with vacancies now ‘oversubscribed’.
Just a month ago, only 29 of around 100 traders at Castle Market had completed applications to trade at the £17.5 million building, which is currently under construction.
A deadline for existing stallholders to apply for new stalls had to be extended to yesterday, alongside the date set for bids by traders not currently in Sheffield.
Around 215 applications - some for several places - have now been made for 195 stalls at the Moor Market.
Council officials must now sift through the applications and decide which traders will be successful.
Ian Bingham, vice chairman of Castle Market Traders’ Federation, said: “I think more than half of the people who have applied are from Castle Market.
“There are no complaints about the process and we hope the new building will be full of traders on day one.”
Stallholder John Galley, of Slattery’s Butchers, added: “We just want to get on with the move and I’m optimistic we’ll be chosen for a stall.
“The council are helping soften the financial impact of the move by providing counters and fridges.”
Coun Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council cabinet member for finance, described the interest in the Moor Market as ‘excellent news’.
“It’s always what we expected and it’s an exciting time,” he added.
After Castle Market is closed, workers will dig down beneath the foundations to assess the scale of castle ruins.
Money for the work, plus demolition of the old market, has been set aside in this year’s council budget.
John Mothersole, council chief executive, believes there are ‘exciting archaeological discoveries’ which could become a tourist attraction. Otherwise, he said the site could be used for businesses.