Staunch opposition is shown to market plans

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STALL holders have ‘aggressively’ opposed a number of planned changes to the way markets are run in Spilsby and throughout the district.

East Lindsey District Council met with traders in Spilsby last Monday, updating them on its proposals hoped to ‘make markets better places to shop and ensure they give a greater boost to the businesses in town, as well as being better places to trade.’

Although traders have welcomed the council’s intentions to rejuvenate the dwindling weekly markets with increased advertising and uniformed canapy designs, other changes have been met with staunch opposition.

Spilsby’s fruit and veg stall holder Len Evans said: “Their initial statement was that they are here to help traders and fill the markets but after that all we were told was we’ve got to pay more rent, clean up rubbish, pay in advance and pay for our stalls even when we are on holiday.

“I accept that being self employed I’m not going to get paid when I’m on holiday but to be forced to rent my stalls when I’m not using it, is like having to pay for holiday twice - it’s ridiculous.”

During the presentation at the Franklin Hall, ELDC explained that stall holders could receive a discount on rental if they booked in bulk, rather than on a week-to-week basis.

Although they are not forced to rent continually, stall holders will lose out on the ‘regular trader’ savings if they decide not to rent the stall when they go on holiday.

It is hoped the regular discounts will fill the markets with more traders, however Len believes many of those interested in holding a stall in Spilsby have been told there is no more space - which he feels is one of the biggest problems to overcome.

Len trades at a number of other Lincolnshire markets including Mablethorpe where he was initially very pleased with ELDC’s decision to move the market from a car park to the high street.

He was delighted by the increased trade he received at the new locations but fears this improvement will be negated by the council’s latest decision to change the market from Thursday to Tuesday.

When Len asked ELDC’s representative at the meeting what he thought of the improvements to Mablethorpe market since its location change, he was dismayed to learn they hadn’t even visited the market to observe for themselves.

Len feels this lack of hands-on engagement with the markets and traders is where the council is failing the most and believes they could make better improvements by listening more to what traders have to say.

ELDC’s portfolio for the economy Coun Craig Leyland said the council will continue to talk to traders and will require some more time to ‘fine tune some of the proposed changes’ accordingly.

Spilsby Town Council representatives also attended the meeting with a keen interest in seeing the market and its traders thrive.

Coun Winston Baugh felt it was a ‘constructive meeting’ but noticed the traders ‘didn’t jump for joy when they heard their rents were going up’.