Council bosses are hoping a £1.5m investment can help turn around the fortunes of Doncaster Market - after it was revealed nearly one in three stalls are standing empty.
Doncaster Council is ploughing the cash into restoring the Corn Exchange in a bid to attract more traders.
Market trader Pat Queen, of Queens Butchers, has seen a dramatic change in the market’s fortunes during his 40-year career.
Mr Queen fears the town’s proud market history may become a distant memory unless drastic action is taken.
He said: “There’s so many stalls standing empty, around 30 businesses have left the market in the last three or four years alone.
“We needed improvements years ago.
“If things continue like this, in 10 years’ time we won’t have a market.”
The calls come after figures revealed the proportion of empty stalls on the market has increased from 27 per cent in October 2014 to 30 per cent in March of this year.
The data was published by Doncaster Council as part of an audit review into the progress made by the markets team following a damning report last year.
The lowest possible rating - ‘no assurance’ - was given in the report. The review revealed progress had taken place since the audit in 2014-15, and the opinion had now been revised to ‘partial assurance’ - the second-best rating.
Adrian Pickersgill, head of commercial services, said: “Doncaster Markets is open for business and we are currently speaking to people interested in joining us.
“We are investing £1.5 million in restoring the Corn Exchange and we are working on plans for other significant improvements.”