PALMA City Council is to set a aside a total of 251'000 euros between this Christmas and next, to the renovation of the 128 small trading stands installed in the Plaza España and the Plaza Mayor over the festive season.

The city's mayor, Catalina Cirer, explained yesterday that the aim is to standardise the image of all exhibitors in each area and give the stalls a “more attractive image”, as well as to encourage people in Palma and those who come from outside, to take a closer look at the goods on display.

Mayor Cirer signalled that out of the total sum, 96'000 euros will be invested this year in the setting up of 68 stainless steel frames with canvas covering in the Plaza de España; of these, 30 will be for craft products.

The remaining 155'000 euros will be allocated to the setting up of 60 small wooden huts in the Plaza Mayor at the end of 2005, which will be built by prisoners in Palma gaol following an agreement recently signed between the City Council and Prison Authorities.

The Mayor declared that the project has emerged in response to the need to give a “facelift” to the trading booths, so that those in both Plaza España and in Plaza Mayor are similar in external appearance.

Cirer said that the design follows suit behind the majority of Spanish and European Christmas trade markets where stalls in key areas of towns and cities possess the same structural features.

The Mayor said that exhibitors who had “set up shop” over the last few years have had considerable difficulty in installing their trading outlets in available shelters. It is for this reason, she continued, that the future wooden houess which will be introduced in the Plaza Mayor will allow “greater facility” when they are mounted. “Furthermore”, said Cirer, “the wooden huts will more effectively capture the attention of passers-by and create a greater audience for exhibitors”.
She also made reference to the complaints which have been launched against the market traders from small businesses, “which is usual for this time of year” in terms of the stalls being seen as competition.

Cirer said that the shopkeepers “needn't worry” and added: “the business of small traders will not be harmed because the number of people visiting their shops and the market will balance itself out”.

The stalls in Plaza España will be allocated to crafts, gifts, clothing and bags.

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