THE cost of living crisis is yet another difficulty that struggling Leigh market traders have had to adjust to.

While markets across the country have suffered from declining footfall over the years, local traders said that their stalls were trading "magnificently" prior to the pandemic.

However, as Leigh market was shut for twelve weeks during the first lockdown in 2020, it has been a "horrendous" struggle to get customers back into the market.

Footfall was starting to show slow signs of improvement, but the rising cost of food and electricity has made it extremely difficult for market traders not to increase the prices of their products, which potentially puts off further customers.

READ > Taxes, Levelling Up, Lexit: What Liz Truss said to the people of Leigh

Leigh Journal: Glenn opened Fish Man Butchers in Leigh market 27 years agoGlenn opened Fish Man Butchers in Leigh market 27 years ago

Glenn Furnivar, who opened Fish Man Butchers in Leigh market 27 years ago, said that the cost of living crisis is another "frightening" worry that is hitting market traders.

Glenn said: "It's taken a long time to get to somewhere like where we were before covid, but we are nowhere near the same level of customers.

"Then with the price of all of our products going up, the fish, meat, and pies, you feel like everything is up against you.

"People don't like it but we have to slightly increase our prices just to keep up."

READ > How covid has triggered a 'horrendous' struggle for Leigh market traders

Leigh Journal: Paul Naughton, manager at Top Banana fruit and veg stallPaul Naughton, manager at Top Banana fruit and veg stall

Paul Naughton, manager of Top Banana fruit and veg stall, had similar thoughts, saying it is "inevitable" that traders have had to put their prices up to survive during the cost of living crisis.

Paul said: "Everything we sell in the shop keeps rising, so although we try not to add it on, it's inevitable that we are going to have to add it on to our selling prices.

"It's a struggle because food items are going up, electricity is going up, and we have one of the highest market rents across the North West.

"And this is while we cope with around a 40% drop in custom since the pandemic; we have never recovered since we were shut for those 12 weeks."

Leigh Journal: Leigh market has been included in the Council's Levelling Up bidLeigh market has been included in the Council's Levelling Up bid (Image: Newsquest)

While traders are experiencing difficulties attracting customers in the current climate, things may start to improve if the Council is successful with their £11.4m Levelling Up bid for Leigh.

With a high degree of support to improve the market in public consultations, the Council has included plans to revamp the historic space to attract both traders and customers.