CRADLEY Heath Market is set to close after its owners have hit hard times.

London based The Lee Baron Group, which handles assets of over £2.5 billion were tight lipped about the future of the market this week.

However, Councillor Ian Jones, cabinet member for jobs and economy, confirmed the market is closing.

He said: "It's a sad day for any business when this happens, particularly in the current economic climate.

"If market traders affected by this, or other businesses, are looking for an alternative they should get in touch by calling the council's markets manager on 0121 553 3074 and we might be able to help out with spaces at our indoor market in West Bromwich."

Cradley Heath and Old Hill Councillor John Tipper said: "These are hard economic times we are living in at the moment and it is a sad for the town and the wider Black Country that this once thriving market is having to close.

"Hopefully all the stallholders will find elsewhere to ply their trade and the owners Lee Baron steady their ship too."

He added: "We now need to turn this sad event into an opportunity as it would be a great place to set up a community based concern. We need new investment in the town and hopefully this will be the catalyst."

The Lee Baron Group provides "market-leading property management" and has over 33 years of experience in the sector.

Both the Lee Baron Group and the market manager Peter Bone refused to comment about the market.