The future of the town’s market will be on the agenda at the next full meeting of Crawley Borough Council.
The council’s Overview and Scrutiny Commission (OSC) met to consider a report exploring options for its future location.
Traders attended the meeting to reiterate their call for the market to be moved permanently to Queens Square.
They revealed several of their number had already left Crawley in favour of markets elsewhere due to the poor footfall in the High Street on Fridays and Saturdays.
Stallholder Sandy Turner told the meeting only five stalls now operated in the High Street compared to the 15 who regularly opened for business in the square.
She added: “We need to move quickly and if we don’t, the people who have gone we are not going to get back.”
Market operator Danny Blaine told the meeting he had been asked to surrender the lease to the council and “walk away”.
He said: “We’re not going to do that to these people. The High Street is finished. It’s over.”
Supporting the call for the market to move to Queens Square, he added: “The whole council and the system is letting these people down.”
The report will go before the Cabinet on Wednesday (July 2) and then full council on July 23. Both meetings will be held at the town hall, starting at 7.30pm.