THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition against the closure of a market’s food stalls.

Owners of Greenwich Market plan to slash the number of hot food stalls from 12 to five or six, and relocate them to the George II cafe area.

Current stall holders have been given notice to quit and have to reapply for a space.

But a petition at the market organised by stall holders against the Greenwich Hospital plans, has so far been signed by around 8,400 people.

Stall holders expect that to rise to about 10,000.

A further 408 people have signed up online at John Dawson, who runs a tapas stall, explained: “We want to show them that they’re a bit misguided and we can do that by putting public pressure on.”

Food sellers say they were encouraged to come to Greenwich two years ago in a bid to create a place similar to London’s Borough Market.

But since the market management company changed hands, so the plans have also altered, with the aim of making it focused more on arts and crafts.

Mr Dawson said: “What we really want is for them to stand down on this. But if that doesn’t happen, we at least want more time to sort ourselves out.

“The public love what we provide and many of them come here for the food so why close it down?”

But Greenwich Hospital property manager Jane Rowson said people had misunderstood the plans.

She said: “I think a lot of people who’ve signed the petition have been completely misled and think we’re closing down the food market.”

Ms Rowson added that shops and crafts stalls supported the move and said: “I’m not worried by those signatures.”