Council hits back on market

WE want a bigger and better market but must obtain the best deal for the Ipswich residents.That was the call today from Ipswich Council after more than 5,000 people signed a petition protesting against plans that a private company will run Ipswich Market.

WE want a bigger and better market but must obtain the best deal for the Ipswich residents.

That was the call today from Ipswich Council after more than 5,000 people signed a petition protesting against plans that a private company will run Ipswich Market.

The market is currently run by the Ipswich Markers Traders Co-operative Ltd, which was set up by stallholders in 2001 to take charge of the facility when it was under the threat of closure.

The council is sponsoring a parliamentary bill to enable the market to expand from its home on the Cornhill despite opposition from the market traders.

Philip Smart, economic development spokesman, said: "The council is determined to get a bigger and better market for local people and we have invested £60,000 to get this bill through.

"We want to have the chance to expand the operation into neighbouring streets such as Princes Street, Queen Street and Lloyds Avenue.

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"The council plans to put the market licence out to tender to obtain the best value for council tax-payers.

"We hope that the present market trading co-operative join the bidding process and we are sure they understand that we must obtain the best deal for local people – it is their market and their money."

However, current market traders fear they could be out of a job if a private company runs the market and a petition set up against the move has been signed by 5,600 people.

Mike Young, chairman of the co-operative, said: "We have got mortgages, families and we are very concerned.

"We are very angry. Without us, there would be no market."

Mr Smart added: "We have a good market now and we want it to get better. The present stall-holders have a huge part to play in this future success.

"Even if a new licence-holder were to win the contract, it is inconceivable that they would not want to work with the existing traders; they are the ones with local knowledge."

The council claim they have supported the market in the past by moving the site to the Cornhill and by offering traders rent reductions on the former Civic Centre car park site.

nWhat do you think of the proposed changes to Ipswich Market? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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