Market trader fears losing stall

PUBLISHED: 10:28 14 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:32 31 May 2010

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A WOMAN who has worked on a market for more than 20 years is in danger of losing her stall because it is too large for her allocated space. Stallholder Jacqui Portway has been selling jewellery, music and soft furnishings at Saffron Walden Market since 19

A WOMAN who has worked on a market for more than 20 years is in danger of losing her stall because it is too large for her allocated space.

Stallholder Jacqui Portway has been selling jewellery, music and soft furnishings at Saffron Walden Market since 1984, but now fears she could be forced to stop trading.

"This stall is my livelihood and my passion, but I believe I'm being treated unfairly," said Ms Portway. "I'm losing sleep, I'm not eating properly and it's costing me money."

Four months ago the 56-year-old was allocated a space on Market Street, by the side of Saffron Walden Town Hall, to trade from at the Tuesday market. However Ms Portway was moved from that position when concerns were raised about access for emergency vehicles.

"Saffron Walden Town Council has refused to give me a suitable replacement," said Ms Portway.

"I have been offered two other spaces that are not big enough for my stall and I have been told that if I exceed the space I will be asked to leave the market."

The worried market trader has been using her stall, which consists of just a metal frame and a canvas roof, for more than eight years.

"I spent £1500 on my stall and I'm not making enough money to replace it. I don't know what I'll do next Tuesday if I'm not given a bigger space. I'm hoping for a miracle!" said Ms Portway.

With an uncertain future at the Tuesday market and without a regular position, Ms Portway believes she has lost customers, her reputation has been damaged and profits are down.

Mayor Mike Hibbs said that Jacqui was a long-term trader and the town council was keen to see her continue trading in the market on Tuesdays.

"It's unfortunate that she had to be moved from her space by the side of the town hall, but it was only an experimental position and we don't have the sufficient road closure order for her to remain there," he said.

"We only have two other vacant spaces on the market and she has been offered both. I realise they are in the centre of the square and not in the most desirable positions, but there is a long waiting list of people who would like to use them."

A customer at the stall for 18 years, Teresa Rowe, who lives on Saffron Walden High Street, said: "I love to walk around the market because it's interesting and colourful and Jacqui is a part of that - it would be a huge loss if she was forced out.

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