STRUGGLING Newport Market traders may have to wait for another 18 weeks before the main entrance to their Victorian building shut off for works reopens this summer.

The stallholders criticised council bosses for failing to complete on time renovation works to the High Street facade of Newport Market, which is akin to a "shop window" drawing in shoppers.

Newport City Council acknowledged the market facelift begun at the end of last year had been hit by delays due to "unforeseen structural issues" mainly caused by the age of the Grade II listed building.

According to market traders, the works were due to end this spring after 20 weeks but say they have told they may not be completed for another 18 weeks by the end of August.

Meanwhile, traders in the market featuring less prominent side and back entrances away from the High Street say they have had to content with plummeting sales.

Market butcher Mike Turner, 44, said: "Businesses are on the line now. It seems all these people are dithering rather than getting on with it.

"We're all struggling. It's not as if people are coming to a market that is busy.

"Everybody thinks the market is shut."

Rae Barton stall greengrocer Desmond Adams, 69, said: "The works have affected us very badly. Takings are down.

"I know it has been a trend in retail but it has been very, very quiet.

"We're trying to live on two days a week at the weekend.

"I think when the works are finished it will be great but at the moment it's surviving."

A Newport council spokesman said: "Work to refurbish Newport Market began towards the end of last year.

"Delays have been experienced because of unforeseen structural issues, mainly due to the age of the building, which had to be dealt with.

"However, when completed, the scheme will have transformed the High Street façade of the Grade II listed building for the benefit of traders and shoppers.

"As well as restoring the entrance to the centre of the building, smart new units will be created for use as shops or restaurants. It is expected that the work will be completed this summer."