A petition calling for market stalls to be set-up ready for traders has been launched after South Holland District Council ratified a decision to scrap the service when it resumed after lockdown.
Stephanie Taylor is asking for support for the campaign which comes amid fears that market traders are turning their backs on Spalding Market because of the move by the council which stall holders believe will be permanent.
South Holland District Council this week announced grants of £5,000 to help traders buy their own equipment, which they would put up themselves. But there are still fears for the future of the market.
Stephanie’s mum Fee Taylor runs Fees Bargains and she met with independent councillors Angela Newton, Rob Gibson and Manzur Hasan last weekend.
“They have been wanting this for a while but are using COVID-19 as an opportunity. I am so disappointed,” said Fee “We would need to buy four stalls and tables when we have not had any income for months.
“It would cost thousands of pounds and we’d also need more insurance and a trailer to transport them.
“We have been told we can bid for grants, but there’s also the issue of safety.
“It feels like they are doing whatever they can to put the final nail in the coffin. What happens if someone doesn’t put their stall up properly and it injures someone? There is going to be an accident and if it’s your equipment that causes it you would never forgive yourself,” she added.
The petition says stall holders are being lost to other markets, or leaving altogether.
“This ridiculous change will cause small businesses and traders to lose their livelihood and have a large economic effect on the town.”
The original decision to suspend erecting stalls for market traders was called-in and the subject was debated again last week by members of the cabinet who ratified the original decision not to carry on because it was not possible to socially distance in the process.
“The communication has been terrible. The council is adamant they contacted all the stall holders, but they didn’t contact me. I had to read about it in the paper,” said Stephanie.
A council spokesman said: “Frequent traders on the district’s markets in Spalding, Holbeach, Long Sutton and Crowland have now been contacted by the Council’s economic development team to invite them to come forward for a £5,000 grant.
“This also follows the ongoing decision to temporarily waive market fees for traders since their return in June, to help the transition out of lockdown and towards customers returning to shop with them.”
During last week’s cabinet meeting, Roger Gambba-Jones, portfolio holder for place, said the council was committed to the market and the £5,000 grants would ‘provide an invaluable opportunity’ for traders.
The petition has been posted online and has been signed by more than 1,000 people so far. It calls for the council to reconsider the decision completely. It can be found here.