Devizes Town Council has agreed to set aside up to £80,000 to cover the cost of cleaning up and refurbishing The Shambles and investigating what role it has as part of a plan for the future of the Market Square.

But traders are not sure if it is as good a deal as it sounds.

At a meeting of the full council on Thursday it was decided to budget up to £30,000 for The Shambles projects for 2021/22 and up to £50,000 for 2022/23.

Cllr Iain Wallis, who had previously described proposals to introduce more food outlets in order to attract younger shoppers as “a load of old tripe,” welcomed the decision top follow the recommendations of a report on the building .

He said: “This report has produced some rather nice sausages and it may now be moving towards a pork chop or two.”

At the centre of the tension between traders and the council are the options for a redevelopment plan for The Shambles, which were revealed in August and include the potential for stairs to a mezzanine food hall, a model which may be suited to the changing trends of market shopping.

At that meeting the council’s market manager Mark Hill and town clerk Simon Fisher explained that having more food outlets in The Shambles could attract shoppers.

Mr Hill said: “We have to adapt to the changing face of retail. The older generation that have supported markets sadly will die out in the next five, ten, 15 or 20 years. If we don’t fill that void in making the market a younger experience, then there will be a big gap.”

But the council’s decision has not met with the instant approval of The Shambles traders, who have been insisting that the interior is cleaned up immediately as they consider it dirty and smelling of chip fat.

They are due to discuss it at Saturday’s market. A spokeswoman explained: “We are all rather frustrated at the moment and need to look into this further.We know that money has already been spent on architect plans to do with the mezzanine floor ideas, for example, and are sceptical about the market manager’s long-term objectives.”

Council officers explained not all of the £80,000 was for refurbishment and may in part cover costs of investigation into the long-term future.

A second working party is being set up to follow the recommendation that a consultation is held with all age groups of the public, and with other businesses, “to see what a ten or twenty-year vision might look like, potentially considering The Shambles as a cornerstone of DTC’s vision for the Market Square.”

It will look at the traders’ contracts to understand how business at the market works and make sure health and safety policy and practices are in line with other council premises.

An earlier working group report recommended the restoration of outdoor signs after traders complained they were removed for repair, better promotion of The Shambles website and a new strategy for getting more traders in.

Other suggestions included replacement of trestle tables, a better fumes extractor system, shelving on the walls and a deep clean now and periodically thereafter.

Traders still want to know when the clean up will start. Chairman Peter Corbett told them: “I give you my personal guarantee that the town clerk will ensure that it will be as soon as possible.”