Stallholders lose market control
DEVASTATED stallholders in Ipswich were today coming to terms with the news they could lose the right to run the town's market.The borough council is today looking for a professional market operator to take over the Cornhill market after rejecting a bid from the market traders' co-operative which has run it for the last three-and-a-half years.
DEVASTATED stallholders in Ipswich were today coming to terms with the news they could lose the right to run the town's market.
The borough council is today looking for a professional market operator to take over the Cornhill market after rejecting a bid from the market traders' co-operative which has run it for the last three-and-a-half years.
Traders' spokesman Mike Young said he and his fellow stallholders felt betrayed after the new administration took power last year after promising a bright future for the market.
He said: "The bid we put in was more than we currently pay - but there was an element included to take account of the fact that we could lose up to 15 days, that's five weeks, trading a year.
"The council said that was unlikely ever to happen, in which case it is unlikely that we would ever pay that lower figure."
He was also bitter about the time it had taken to consider the issue.
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"We had to have our bid in with them in November and it has taken until now for the council to make a decision.
"Last year the councillors who got elected, especially the Liberal Democrats and Richard Atkins, said how important it was that we should continue to run the market.
"Now Mr Atkins is supposed to be in charge of economic development and the council does this. We do feel rather betrayed."
Mr Atkins said today that the decision to go to open tendering was not simply because of the price of the bid.
He said: "We also wanted to look at how the market could expand and how it could include other elements - possibly a monthly farmers' market and seasonal events like a Christmas market.
"Those kind of things are very popular in other parts of the country and on the continent," he said.
The council had been unable to accept the exclusive tender from the traders, but it was keen to speak to them about how they could improve their offer when it invited tenders from the open market.
"We recognise that they have done a great deal to keep the market going and to establish it in its current location - and we should like to help them as much as possible.
"But we also have to get the best possible value for council tax payers in Ipswich," he said.