Traders feel let down by council

PUBLISHED: 12:32 04 September 2008 | UPDATED: 14:08 10 May 2010

MARKET traders believe they are being let down by their town council - and their livelihoods put at risk - because of poor communication. Stallholders Rob Asquith and Dennis Madden confronted councillors at a meeting of Saffron Walden Town Council s prope

MARKET traders believe they are being let down by their town council - and their livelihoods put at risk - because of poor communication.

Stallholders Rob Asquith and Dennis Madden confronted councillors at a meeting of Saffron Walden Town Council's property and services committee last Wednesday.

A trader at the Tuesday market for more than 15 years, Mr Asquith said: "We feel that we are not consulted about changes to the market that affect our business and that we are the last to know."

Jewellery stallholder Mr Asquith has recently started trading on Saturdays as well as Tuesdays and relies on Saffron Walden Market to earn a living.

"There are a number of issues which we would like the council to address, but our main concern is what will happen to the market when the market square is redeveloped," he said.

The ambitious project to give the market square a £150,000 makeover is due to start in March and will take three months to complete.

Flower stallholder Mr Madden, who has been selling on the Saturday market for 10 years, said: "I have three market stalls, but the Saffron Walden stall is my best. This is my livelihood and the redevelopment of the market square is a big concern.

"We don't know who's running the market and the traders are being ignored.

"We've been put under a lot of pressure from the food fairs on the Common and the disruption caused by the hoardings put up outside the library.

"The busiest times in the town are the market days on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

"There are a lot of good traders on the market and the council needs to protect that."

The town council was asked to recognise, and regularly meet with, two representatives who would be elected by the traders to discuss market issues.

Chairman of the property and services committee Cllr Sandra Eden agreed to the idea and said that the traders' concerns were being addressed.

Town clerk Malcolm White outlined four possible courses of action for the market while the square is being redeveloped: that no market is held while the work is being carried out; that the market is held in King Street; that the market is held on the Common car park; or that the market is held on the Swan Meadow car park.

The committee will decide on a course of action at its meeting on September 29.

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