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Châtelain market traders say new move is last straw

10:34 21/01/2024

Brussels is blessed with myriad high quality markets taking place at different days throughout the city.

The Wednesday market on the Place du Châtelain in Ixelles was always a highlight – until late October 2023, when the square’s planned renovation forced traders to move to Place Flagey, where business slumped.

Now, when the arctic temperatures ease, the traders are supposed to move again – to Avenue Général de Gaulle, probably from this coming Wednesday (24 January).

This is because of more public works - this time on Place Flagey - and would be a disaster, stallholders say.

In a letter signed by 40 traders, they note that since the 25 October move to Flagey their sales revenue has dropped by 70% and they have been forced to lay off staff and reduce purchases.

“Nevertheless we are doing our best to continue to work, but a move again to Avenue Général de Gaulle will be the nail in the coffin,” the traders said.

The decision to move the market again from January to 8 May, when in theory the traders can go back to Place du Châtelain, was made by Ixelles commune due to works to be carried out at Place Flagey.

The plan for Flagey involves removing paving stones from the square and neighbouring place Sainte-Croix to make them more green and pleasant places.

The traders say instead they should be allowed to move to Rue du Châtelain, adjoining the Place du Châtelain, and that if there is no other option, they should be allowed to stay at Place Flagey.

In exchange, they would be willing to reduce the size of their stalls, adding: "Of course, each of these two proposals will need an analysis and a compromise."

Fish stallholder Albert said: "We feel abandoned by the municipal council. Our sales at Flagey are already catastrophic, but none of our customers will come to Avenue Général de Gaulle.

"We do not understand why we need to leave. Why can’t this ‘greening’ wait a little or the works finished bit by bit so that we can stay?"

Josée, who sells street food, added: “The municipal councillor Audrey Lhoest (Ecolo – Groen) came and listened to us. We are happy to be able to express ourselves."

Written by Liz Newmark