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Grocer's battle to show stock

PUBLISHED: 11:31 31 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

AN IPSWICH greengrocer is fighting to keep his business open after council restrictions stopped him displaying his goods on the street.

Terry Jones estimates that this measure is costing him £2,000 a week in lost sales because he cannot display eye-catching items of fruit to attract passing trade.

By Nick Richards

AN IPSWICH greengrocer is fighting to keep his business open after council restrictions stopped him displaying his goods on the street.

Terry Jones estimates that this measure is costing him £2,000 a week in lost sales because he cannot display eye-catching items of fruit to attract passing trade.

And, Mr Jones, who owns Fresh & Fruity on Westgate Street, now feels he faces a David versus Goliath battle to obtain a permit from Ipswich Borough Council.

He said he has been unfairly treated because he was never told that he had a right to apply for a special permit.

"It turns out that I should have been told about a permit I could have got which would have meant I could display goods on the street" he said.

"I've been here for five years but will call it a day if I can't put my fruit and veg out."

In less than four weeks, Mr Jones' lease expires on the shop. Unless he can reach an agreement with the council he said he will close up and become a taxi driver.

But Mr Jones insists he is doing nothing wrong by displaying his goods on the street – something grocers have done for decades all over the country.

"It's not just me that is doing this – there are other people in Ipswich that place stalls on the highway. What is the difference between me and these others -–there are even people obstructing without permission."

He even took pictures of other traders who are committing the same 'offences' and took these with him when he made his latest appearance at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.

Last week , Mr Jones was in court and was ordered to pay a total of £255 for simply displaying his wares on the street.

This amount is broken down into three amounts – of £40, £60 and £80 – which were dished out for the same three offences in January. He was ordered to pay an additional £75 in costs.

In court, Mr Jones argued that the council had no justification to summons him because he has not been told of the permit he could have applied for.

Mr Jones, 45, from Clacton, has been a greengrocer for thirty years and has never come up against so much trouble in his work.

"You usually get problems from the council with minor things which I've had in Felixstowe and Clacton, but nothing as ludicrous as this.

"It's a load of rubbish – we are trying to make a living but instead we are having to fight with the council to be allowed to put the goods outside the shop window.

"I'm struggling anyway with the market being moved – it's taking away trade in a way but also now there is no reason for people to come up this way."

Mr Jones estimated that he currently takes about £7,000 per week through his shop. He said that £2,000 would be lost through lack of displays and £2,000 would be lost because of the new market.

After he has paid out wages for five people, he said it would be not be worth his while to remain open as the profit he made would be too small.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: "We certainly hope that Mr Jones changes his mind and continues to trade as we support businesses large and small in the town.

"We took action only after receiving complaints from members of the public. The shopkeeper has ignored our repeated requests not to obstruct the pavement. We have tried to resolve this for years."

n Terry Jones is organising a petition to help save his shop. It is available to sign at Fresh & Fruity in Westgate Street. Alternatively he can be contacted on 01473 281908


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