Nov 27 2008 By Fraser Wilson
STALLHOLDERS at Paddy's Market could yet strike up an agreement with city leaders which would see them remain as part of a new-look site.
Traders hope Glasgow City Council officials are now softening their stance towards the planned 'vacant possession' of the market.
Vacant possession would have seen the traders forced out of their stalls while renovation and maintenance work was carried out when the council finally take over the leases early next year.
The two parties met last week in a bid to thrash out an agreement.
But while the traders hold out hope of avoiding a position of vacant possession, council officials say it is still a requirement at some stage.
Trader Hazel McGeachen said: "Discussions are at an early stage. However, we are pleased that at last the council is now showing signs that it is willing to work with us to find a solution that suits everyone.
"The meeting with council officials was very positive with the council clearly recognising that there is a way forward that accommodates the present market traders as well as the council's vision for the area."
Local councillor, Craig Mackay who arranged the meeting said: "I am very encouraged by the positive reception given to the Paddy's traders.
"While the council administration previously decided to demand vacant possession of Paddy's when they take it over, it is evident that there is now a clear willingness to co-operate with the existing trader.
"There is an understanding that forcing them to vacate their premises, even temporarily, would force most of them out of business.
"In the current economic climate there would be little prospect of finding new tenants, so I am glad that the council is now moving forward with a positive attitude towards the traders."
However, a spokesman for the local authority said: "The priority for the council has always been to ensure that Paddy's, in what ever form it takes in the future, can operate as a safe and reputable market where operations are managed, leases controlled, security and cleansing services provided and where we can ensure that all traders have appropriate licences.
"As agreed by the council, vacant possession is required.
"This will enable a full and detailed property and health and safety inspection to be undertaken on the site as a whole and determine what maintenance, cleaning and upgrading work has to be carried out at Shipbank Lane to bring it up to an acceptable standard before the 'new' market takes shape."
He added: "The council has previously confirmed that it is willing to work with the traders to protect their livelihoods and that it is not setting out to threaten legitimate businesses.
"We will liaise with traders to identify alternative options in the meantime, for example at other city markets and car boot sales."