SHOPPERS were out in force to sample the delights of the new Pitsea market on its opening day.

The market has been moved to make way for a town centre redevelopment under Basildon Council’s £30million Pitsea masterplan.

It is now trading on the site in London Road where the old Railway Hotel stood until it was demolished last year.

Wednesday’s opening session saw the site full to capacity, with 89 stalls offering everything from clothes, to food to homewares.

Traders have spoken positively about the place where they will now set up their stalls every Wednesday and Saturday, Jeremy Bloom, 55, who runs a clothes stall said it was good to see so many traders doing good business.

He added: “This is certainly a new beginning for the market, but one the traders are embracing and looking forward to. It is a good market and one people know about.

“We have such loyal, longterm customers they will always be here for us. We have had to endure some difficult times in the past, so this is a challenge we must look forward to.”

Flower seller Janice Knights, 57, who has been trading on Pitsea market for 20 years, said: “It was such a bonus that the sun shone on the opening day.

“I hope that encourages people to buy some of the produce.

Primroses are quite popular at this time of year, so Pitsea’s people should come and see what’s on offer.

“Loyal customers are what makes this market, but I am hoping this regeneration will bring in new ones as well.”

Florist Mike Sullivan, who runs a shop called World of Flowers nearby in London Road, said he had expected the newmarket to be bigger – in its heyday, Pitsea market had more than 200 stalls.

He added: “I feel disappointed for the market traders.

“With £30million being pumped into the project, I thought they would be given a bigger patch to sell their items.

“I want them to be as successful as possible but I’m not sure if the facilities are there.”