Two traders booted out of Kingston Market Place because their stalls didn’t fit in with redevelopment plans are considering legal action against their eviction.

David Wilson and Angela Lassiter were left in tears at the end of trading on Monday, when town centre managers Kingstonfirst changed the locks to their stalls, which they have operated for a combined 45 years.

The pair were among three traders given a month to close their businesses before work to convert the 12th century site into a hot and cold food market begins in September.

They were told the planned revamp left no room for Mr Wilson’s CD and DVD stall or for Mrs Lassiter’s greetings card business.

Despite applying for an extension to continue trading beyond Monday’s original eviction date, both were informed on Saturday afternoon that they would have to leave as planned. A third trader, Lorna Herne, who had sold watches and accessories since the early 80s, left the market over the weekend.

But Mr Wilson, 73, and Mrs Lassiter, 51, are refusing to go as quietly, and are speaking to solicitors about how to challenge the decision.

Mr Wilson, who has been at the market for 35 years, said: “At its most simple, I’m extremely disappointed in their attitude.

“I would have expected better from an organisation that acts in the interests of local people and businesses.”

Solicitor Roger Sceats, acting on behalf of Mr Wilson, said: “I think he has a very important case.

“His livelihood depends on it, and when you’re ending somebody’s employment like that there is a due process and in my view they haven’t dealt with it properly.

“When you’ve been there for so many years with nobody minding you have a reasonable expectation to continue.

“If you’re a taxi driver, you renew your licence every year and as long as you don’t have any traffic offences they can’t sack you just because they don’t like the colour of your car.

“I believe that should be the case for market traders.”

A Kingstonfirst spokeswoman said the decision remove the market traders now had nothing to do with the planned regeneration in September.

She said: "This is about our aspiration to make the market the best it can be.

“We have made a decision and we want to move on with getting the intended mix of stalls.

"All three of these traders have been offered the opportunity to continue trading at the Ancient Market with a new product offer or to trade from the Fairfield Monday Market.

Asked why an extension to continue trading was refused, she said: “We felt there was no grounds for an extension."