Market byelaws to stop rogue traders in Saffron Walden

Markets held at Saffron Walden Market Square (above) will now have byelaws regulating trade.

Markets held at Saffron Walden Market Square (above) will now have byelaws regulating trade. - Credit: Archant

Rogue traders could be a thing of the past after the council voted to bind market etiquette with byelaws.

Until now, there have been no laws governing the use of the markets in Saffron Walden, which take place every Tuesday and Saturday – meaning unauthorised trade can take place.

At a meeting held last Thursday, Mayor Sandra Eden told the chamber: “I’ve seen rogue traders coming through. I do think as a town we need to be protected against this.”

Not all were in favour of the proposal, with fears that the new “overzealous” rules could scare off buskers.

“I would hate to see a situation where people get scared off,” said Councillor David Watson.

“Markets are a living thing, and it quite often hosts some form of musical entertainment,” Cllr Watson told the Reporter. “Saffron Walden also frequently has charity stalls near the shops [off Market Square], and I would hate to think that one of the byelaws coming in would prevent people from doing that.

“Markets aren’t just providers of food, they are part of the cultural life of Saffron Walden.”

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Saffron Walden market has existed in various forms since 1295, but only the good will of traders has enforced best practice. Now anyone who appears at the market without authorisation or payment can be banned or charged a market rent by the town council. The byelaws will also apply to town council events that include market stalls, such as the Christmas lights switch on.

“Much as we hate being bound by rules and regulations, it’s useful to have them as a back stop for these services, when they need to be applied,” town clerk Gordon Mussett told the Reporter.

“By having these byelaws we can help protect the existing market traders from unauthorised trading during market hours.”

Market traders will now be consulted, before the town council applies to the Department of Communities and Local Government for the relevant byelaws.