FUMING street traders have been told they are being moved and will have to pay four times the rent at a new spot.

Stunned stallholders in Colchester’s Culver Street West have been given 28 days’ notice to move to High Street to form part of the council’s new market.

They claim they’ve had no say in the process and the move will see rents for pitches increase by up to £12,000 a year.

Shahid Zaman, 38, who has run a clothes stall with wife, Jeanette, for ten years, said: “Never has Colchester Council written, or otherwise contacted, street traders to inform us.

“We were served with the notice on Tuesday. My rent goes up by 400 per cent.”

Traders were sent a letter on Tuesday telling them the street trading pitches must cease by April 3 and to sign contracts for new stalls in the High Street by March 14. The High Street market is due to start in late March or early April.

Mr Zaman said it meant the six traders who operate seven days a week from Culver Street West would not be allowed to be at their existing location on Fridays and Saturdays.

Rules say street traders are not allowed to operate within close proximity to the Charter market on the same day.

But Mr Zaman said traders have run alongside the town’s Charter market stalls elsewhere for more than 30 years.

The cost of renting a pitch at Culver Street West totals £56 for Friday and Saturday.

But Mr Zaman said the cost to him and other traders in High Street for those days would be £280. On other days, they will be allowed to continue operating as they have done.

Gavin Tyler, who mans the fruit and veg stall, said: “They want us to move to High Street but Fridays and Saturdays are our busiest days here.”

Andrew Gray, of the Mersea Fish stall, said: “It seems like I am going to have to pitch on one side of the road and will have to carry all the boxes of fish and ice across the road.”

Trevor Lankford, who mans the flower stall, said: “Why are they trying to destroy our 30- year-old business? It is stressing us out. It is our livelihoods down the pan.”

They have support from nearby shopkeepers.

Anna Ellison, manager of Laura Ashley, has written to council chief executive Adrian Pritchard to voice her concerns.

Another shopkeeper said: “We cannot afford to lose these guys.

The customers who buy from the market traders are customers who buy from us.”

A petition has also been launched calling for the traders to be allowed to continue on Fridays and Saturdays from their current base.

Anne Turrell, Colchester councillor responsible for economic development and regeneration said: “The opening of Colchester Market means there will be no more street trading pitches on Friday and Saturday, in accordance with the original market charter.

“However, no changes are being made to Sunday to Thursday trading days, so those traders will operate as usual.

“We are working with the traders to offer them a position on Friday and Saturday to operate on the new Colchester Charter Market.”

The traders will be allowed to pay their current rate for the first 13 weeks in High Street.

There will be 54 stalls set in laybys between Head Street and Colchester Town Hall.