A petition to have a town market moved because of fears people aren’t adhering to social distancing rules, has been met with the council introducing extra safety measures to keep traders and visitors safe.

Isobel Hamer, a Keswick resident, has started a Change.org petition in a bid to have the long-standing market moved from the town centre.

Her fears came after being shown pictures of the street packed with visitors who weren’t adhering to social distancing rules.

She said: “There are so many people at the market and all the locals are concerned about it.

“All we really want is it to be moved to a car park or a field. Just so everyone is not all in one place.

“The locals are frightened by it because people are not social distancing and not wearing masks. Why can’t they spread it out?”

Allerdale Council is responsible for the operation of the market, which runs in Main Street every Thursday and Saturday. Keswick Market, along with all others in Allerdale, was suspended in March and reintroduced on June 18 with various safety measures which meet Government and NABMA guidelines in place.

From today, the council will be introducing extra measures following concerns raised. It is urging everyone who visits the market and the town centre to respect social distancing in a bid to keep people safe.

The new measures that will be in place include: a reduction in the number of stalls and some repositioned; alterations to the market layout to help with compliance of the one-way system; clear entrances to the one-way system with improved signage; and the addition of a no entry sign at specific points.

Councillor Mike Johnson, Allerdale’s deputy leader, said: “The council has worked hard alongside our partners to make the Keswick Market site as safe as possible for everyone and we will continue to monitor the situation going forward. I ask everyone who attends to respect the measures we’ve put in place so the experience of going into Keswick town centre can be enjoyable for all.”

Andrew Byrne has a bag stall on the market and has operated there for the past 20 years. He doesn’t feel there has been a problem with social distancing and believes people are doing their best to adhere to the rules.

He said: “We are doing the best we can.

“We are behind the stalls so are safer, but people are trying to social distance.

“It’s a wide pavement so people can social distance. If we move the market it would kill it.”