Angry market operator lashes out
A MARKET operator is accusing town mandarins of trying to squeeze it out of proposed improvements the open-air site in Ipswich.Councillors have agreed to promote a private Act of Parliament, costing up to £60,000, to expand the existing market on the Cornhill.
A MARKET operator is accusing town mandarins of trying to squeeze it out of proposed improvements the open-air site in Ipswich.
Councillors have agreed to promote a private Act of Parliament, costing up to £60,000, to expand the existing market on the Cornhill.
The move could more than double the number of stalls, which currently stands at 19, with options for the market to spread onto several town centre streets.
But the current operator of the market, which oversaw its successful move to the Cornhill 18 months ago, reacted with anger to plans to put its management out to tender when the bid is given the go-ahead.
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Michael Young, chairman of the Ipswich Market Traders Co-operative, said: "It is immoral what they are doing to us.
"We saved this market when it would have been immensely embarrassing to them to lose it and, reading between the lines, they don't want us anymore. We have been used as a stop-gap.
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"We have only been given six-month licences to run the market and that gives us no chance whatsoever.
"Without us, there wouldn't be a market, and now they are trying to take it away from us."
Council leader Peter Gardiner told last night'smeeting the current operator would be "more than welcome" to join in the bidding.
He said the council had a duty to secure the best deal for the market and suggested national operators could join the race, adding it would be "a very open process".
Outlining the bid, Mr Gardiner said the council hoped to secure an enlarged section of the Cornhill plus Lloyds Avenue, Queen Street and a section of Princes Street for possible use in the market expansion. That would mean the council had an option to use those roads if required.
He added the town should be able to sustain a bigger market but current constraints meant it was not able to do so at the moment.
The market currently consists of 10 charter market stalls on council-owned land and nine street trading licenses on highways. It is run on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with extra days at Christmas and Easter.
Market consultants believe there should be a minimum of 40 stalls on the new site.
Members voted overwhelming to approve the promotion of the Bill, which will be deposited at Parliament on November 27.