Market traders ‘could go out of business’ after they were told they will be forced out for seven weeks by over-running building works.
Traders have been told they have until this Sunday to move to temporary stalls set up in Memorial Gardens to allow Balfour Beatty to finish underground drainage and paving on the £5m scheme.
If the stalls were not moved, the project would be delayed by several weeks, according to Kingston Council's project manager Mark Teasdale.
In a letter to stall holders, Mr Teasdale said: “Having made a commitment to traders to keep you in the Market Place during the building works, I would rather not be writing to you now with this news.
“However, we are where we are and now need to work with you to make the best of a very difficult situation.”
The new market place is gradually taking shape, as seen by these new timber stalls - but not quickly enough for traders no to be moved
Traders will be able to move into their new stalls in Memorial Gardens by this Friday, February 21, and must be in place by the end of the weekend.
Stall holders will not be charged rent during the relocation, provided they trade at least five days a week while at Memorial Gardens.
The market will be moved back to its usual site by Sunday, April 13.
One stall holder, who did not want to be named, said: “I don’t think we really have a choice.
“It’s a case of like it or lump it, and just try and make the best of it.
“I do think the new market is going to look fantastic, and the market did need to change, but the problem has been the way the project has been approached.
Work to set up the temporary stalls in Memorial Gardens has already begun
“It’s been organised very badly and it’s been disappointing.
“We’ve gone through a very hard time, trade has dropped significantly and we feel we haven’t been supported like we could have been.
“Some traders could go out business from what I’ve heard. There’s always a lot of gossip in markets but I do think it’s a distinct possibility.”