MORE than 1,000 people signed a petition against the regeneration of Hexham Market Place.

The owners of Paxton’s Fish and Chips started the petition for its customers to sign and a separate one for Hexham businesses in protest against the two main options proposed as part of plans to give the market a makeover.

During an eight-week consultation period, residents, businesses and visitors were asked to vote on their preferred option; either a pedestrianised zone or a proposal maintaining some parking in the town centre. There was also a third option under the heading of neither listed.

Following the end of the consultation on Sunday, Lorna and Natalie Paxton handed the two petitions campaigning against the two main options into Hexham Town Council.

A total of 1,350 signed the customer petition and 122 businesses put pen to paper on the other. Paxtons also penned an open letter of objection on behalf of local traders.

Natalie said: “Taking away further parking in the town centre would kill business as people don’t want to, or can’t, walk up a hill to get to the town. The petitions show the strong feeling against anything major changing in the market place.”

Northumberland county councillor for Hexham Central with Acomb, Trevor Cessford, spearheaded the project and said funding would be sought for whichever option proved most popular.