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Traders angry over market proposals

PUBLISHED: 13:42 12 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

IPSWICH market traders are outraged over plans to extend the market then put it out to tender for someone else to manage.

It is not the increased competition that they fear, but the councils' plans to build the market up then put it out to tender under the government's Best Value initiative.

IPSWICH market traders are outraged over plans to extend the market then put it out to tender for someone else to manage.

It is not the increased competition that they fear, but the councils' plans to build the market up then put it out to tender under the government's Best Value initiative.

The borough council is to seek a private parliamentary act allowing it to extend the market site along Lloyd's Avenue, the top of Princes Street and Queens Street. As part of the deal the council also plans to advertise for a full-time market operator.

The market traders co-operative currently run the site on a non-profit making basis. This means that rents can be kept low so prices of the goods for sale also remain low.

At the moment they only have a six-month temporary licence but have been running the market since they saved it from closure two years ago. The threat of a take-over has been hanging over their heads ever since.

Chairman Mike Youngs said: "The traders are incensed as we feel we are the best operators. We are doing a good job and the traders, the customers and the council are all very happy.

"It seems a bizarre idea and immoral to let us do the hard work of building up the market and then putting it out to tender. Why don't they just do it now?

"If an operator comes in to make a profit then the rents would go up which would affect prices.

"It is a good idea to increase the size of the market and there will be more competition which we would welcome as Ipswich is a fairly big town."

Peter Gardener, leader of the council, said: "The application for the Act is in recognition of the success of the co-operation since the market moved to the Cornhill. We are disappointed they see it as negative progress for the market. We see this as a real opportunity to help the market grow.

"Putting the licence out to tender has been on the cards for a long time and the market traders know that. The council has to make sure services operate effectively and efficiently so we have to show various other people that we are getting value for money.

"We have not decided when to put the licence out to tender and are not ruling it out the council running it.

"We are happy with the way the co-operation have run the market and have extended their licence to August of next year to give them added security.

"If the traders think they can run the bigger market we will be happy to see what they have to offer."

N What do you think? 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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