Angry market traders hit out at stall snub
FEARS have been raised over the vitality of a local market due to a claimed decline in traders on two market days.
Traders at Louth Market claim they are not being listened to and nothing is being done by East Lindsey District Council to promote the markets to attract more regular traders.
In 2012, the council announced a series of changes to the way the markets are run, including how the stalls are booked, rules about competition as well as a standardised appearance of the stalls.
Markets are run in Louth on Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays and Wednesday is the only day traders claim is thriving.
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But despite this, East Lindsey District Council says Louth market is going from strength to strength.
John Sutcliffe who runs Amanda Jane Fashions travels from Selby to trade at Louth market on Fridays.
He has been trying to get a stall on a Wednesday.
He says he was successful for two weeks in the summer before being told he could no longer have a stall due to two other clothes traders already operating.
He said: "People have said to me there is nothing like my stall here on a Wednesday.
"Once markets start to decline, it is a downward spiral.
"They need proper, regular traders all year round."
Another trader, who asked not to be named, said: "There is a decline in traders.
"You need the whole market full to the maximum to make it work."
Alan Grant, who runs a card stall said the problem has arisen from changes the council has implemented.
He said: "We aren't attracting any big, proper traders and it's because you now have to register online and pay a week in advance.
"There is no flexibility anymore and they just don't listen.
"The council gives no incentive to traders whatsoever to come here."
The ongoing issues have concerned members of Louth Town Council who are now inviting Councillor Steve Newton, East Lindsey District Council's portfolio holder in charge of the markets and Markets Manager Esther Belton to explain how they intend to stem the decline.
Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said: "Various people are really upset about what has happened to Louth market.
"Louth is a market town and shops rely on the market.
"The farmers' market saw a slight improvement but I am concerned how the market is going."
Councillor Newton has disputed the claims.
He said: "Louth market continues to go from strength to strength.
"So far this year we have seen a 9.1 per cent rise in stall occupancy on Louth markets – from 3,993 stalls between January and August 2012 to 4,358 in the same period this year. "The Food Friday market already has a waiting list of traders wishing to stand.
"When a gap can be seen in the stalls, the case may be that of a trader paying for a stall but then not standing on the day for one reason or another making it very difficult for us to fill that space at short notice.
"As well as the council's investment of more than £140,000 into its markets across East Lindsey last year, the success of the markets is also down to the traders and the shoppers.
"Without the traders and shoppers, markets won't be a success.
"We will continue to deliver a programme of publicity to encourage traders to join our markets."