Boston

Trader list scrapped to prevent market monopolies

Market traders have been accused of trying to prevent others from having stalls in the town by using regulations in the council’s policy to create monopolies.

Boston Borough Councillors looking at ways to improve the town’s market place offering at an Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday agreed to ask cabinet to remove a ‘tenant mix’ list from the authority’s Market Place Policy.

The list defined an agreed numbers of traders selling particular types of goods – for example there could be five stalls selling ladies clothes, and three men’s, with many goods limited to a maximum of only two stalls.

The changes follow a Task and Finish Group consultation with local businesses, members of the public, traders and schools.

Town centre portfolio holder and Conservative councillor Nigel Welton told members: “The reason for removing this list, was that its very old and antiquated, going back many years.

“It restricts the use of markets to such a degree that it could be possible we could have a waiting list of people waiting to come on but still have vacancies on the market.

“When I was part of the Task and Finish Group looked at some incidents where traders would start to sell certain goods to stop other suppliers of those goods coming on to the market therefore providing a bit of a monopoly which was not healthy for a modern market.”

Boston Borough Council’s town centre portfolio holder Councillor Nigel Welton.

The changes voted through for cabinet to investigate, will see the mix of stalls instead decided by officers, giving the council more flexibility.

The council also voted through a series of other suggestions  including banning traders from smoking of vaping on or near their market stalls, introducing more cultural offerings such as street performers and more events like food festivals and bringing back farmers’ markets.

Signage is set to be looked at to see if it needs to be larger, or more attractive to different demographics.

An idea to ‘zone’ the Market or to colour code stalls to make it clearer which stalls sold which product was rejected after councillors were told it would be too complicated with the current mix of regular and casual traders.