'Strangled by red tape' - Ridley Road Market traders respond to consultation on licence conditions
PUBLISHED: 14:43 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:47 24 January 2020
Ridley Road traders have submitted their response to a consultation that would see 280 licence conditions imposed.
The Market Traders Association says the move by Hackney Council, which will impact on all the borough's markets.
Chair Larry Julian said: "Far from helping the market, the existing and new conditions are strangling it with red tape."
As revealed by the Gazette last month, the council is also planning to increase fees and charges by doubling the cost of storage containers and hiking rent by up to 14 per cent from April.
Mayor Phil Glanville has repeatedly stressed the market is going nowhere and has pledged to "protect and improve it so existing traders can thrive".
But Larry added: "We've sent in detailed objections and we've appealed to Phil Glanville to intervene to help find a constructive way out of the mess his officers are making of controlling the market."
"We know the mayor has committed to publicly protect and improve Ridley Road Market so existing traders could thrive, but right now many traders are struggling to survive let alone thrive.
"The conditions we are working under are already harsh, but the proposed new conditions could be the nail in the coffin for the market."
The 36-pages of proposed trading terms include stallholders having to inform the market team within seven days of changing their email address or phone number, or risk having their licence suspended, and signing in and out at the end of each day.
Larry added: "You have to set your stall up between 6am and 8am, sign in like a schoolkid and then be at your stall for 51 per cent of each day, before signing out at 6pm. It's a 13-hour day for some people and there's no middle ground."
The council, which recently hired a new markets team, says its costs have increased by more than £100,000 a year since fees were last changed in 2016, and that pitch fees for traders in zone 3 will go down.
It also insists traders helped draft the new terms and conditions, which also cover food hygiene, health and safety legislation and the use of single use plastics.
Aled Richards, the council's director of public realm, reiterated last month the town hall is committed to protecting the market's "unique character".
He said: "After a lot of hard work by the council and traders, we increased occupancy rates by 3 per cent last year, and have secured £1.5m [from Sadiq Khan] to invest in the market over the next few years.
"The proposals we are consulting on are aimed at making sure that Ridley Road - and all our markets - fund themselves so they can continue to grow and thrive."