It was supposed to be the centrepiece of Mitcham’s transformed market square. But instead a public information sign - emblazoned with the slogan Mitcham Means Business - has been hidden behind a market stall for nine months.

Taxpayers will now cough up more than £6,000 to move the electronic information board fewer than a hundred yards after the council admitted it told stall owners to set up shop directly in front of the sign at the beginning of the year.

The refurbished market square, opened in March, was an integral part of the local authority’s plans to regenerate Mitcham town centre.

A stall owner who did not want to be named said: “The whole thing’s ridiculous.

"We’ve been told to put our stalls here and you’d thought the council would have seen this problem coming when they rebuilt the whole market square.”

Montrose Gardens resident, Mags Alexander, said in a letter to the Wimbledon Guardian: “What madness is this? Instead of moving the market trader, Merton Council intends to move the sign.”

“I think that the council should use my council tax to pay for services to the elderly, sick and disabled rather than be involved in this utter nonsense!”

But Merton Council's cabinet member for planning and traffic management, Councillor William Brierly, said: “We are clearly reluctant to move the stall nearest the information board, as we appreciate the stall holders have already recently relocated their stalls so that they are all on market square.”

He added: "An application has been submitted to install an electronic information board outside the Morrisons store in Majestic Way. However, no decision has yet been made.”

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