Gareth Wilson

Liberal Democrat Campaigner for Haddenham & Aldreth Learn more

Suppporting Ely Market

by Gareth Wilson on 16 February, 2010

Support Ely Markets

We, the undersigned, petition East Cambridgeshire District Council to support Ely Market traders through the current recession and not to implement proposed cuts in the 2010/2011 Council budget which will remove the facility to rent pre-erected stalls from the Council and to consult fully with the market traders’ representatives before any changes to their terms and conditions of operation are made.  We deplore the fact that there has been no proper consultation with the traders’ representatives prior to debate by Committees of the Council in late January 2010

Pauline collecting signatures   Gareth & Ian collecting signatures

 The above is the petition signed by over 5,000 people.

Listening to the Jeremy Sallis breakfast show this morning I heard Conservative Councillor James Palmer state that these 5,000+ people were misled and did not understand that all his administration was trying to do was to stop providing stalls. But he also said he did not know what the petition was about. If he had bothered to come to Ely market to talk to traders and shoppers he would have found out that the public were very well informed about the issues involved. He could have read the petition, which was prominently displayed on most of the stalls. He would have found out, like I did, that people had been closely following the arguments after listening to local radio and reading the local papers. They were angry and queued up to sign the petition.

He would also have found out that the present neat market with the Cathedral as a backdrop is what nearly everyone wants to keep and are horrified by the prospect of a mish-mash of stalls resembling a car boot fair.

The fact is that he implied that that stallholders were being subsidised, this is not so. Last year the stallholders paid £135,000 in pitch and stall fees to the District Council. Even with the council overheads the market still produced a profit of £25,000.

He stated that the stallholders would save money if they bought their own stalls. This is just not true, as the Council is intending to carry on charging the same fee as if they were providing stalls, but will not be providing them. This is a 145% increase in pitch fees.

He stated that these new stalls cost only £150 but failed to point out that stallholders would have to provide trestle tables and weights to hold these flimsy gazebos from blowing away. (The weights cost £49 a pair). A lot of the collectables and crafts, and some of the farmers market traders come in cars, with no room to carry all this extra equipment, as well as their produce, they do not have vans like regular market traders.

He failed to explain why these decisions were being made before anyone had talked to the market traders.

I am proposing a motion at the Full Council Meeting on Feb 23rd hoping that the Conservative administration could change their mind.

This Council supports Ely Market as a vibrant, profitable and successful attraction for visitors and shoppers to the City of Ely.

We recognise the concerns of thousands of petitioners who are worried about the proposals to reduce the support to the traders.

We therefore instruct the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to investigate how the market could be strengthened, improved and expanded with full consultation with the market traders. During this investigation period, no changes should be made to the current terms and conditions of the market traders and market stalls should continue to be provided. The recommendations from Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be reported to the Community Services Committee.

Proposed by Cllr. Gareth Wilson & Seconded by Cllr. Ian Allen

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