Market trader fears for business future

Market stall holder Andrew Long is concerned about the future of the market.
Market stall holder Andrew Long is concerned about the future of the market.

A Lancaster market trader said he fears his business is being “condemned to bankruptcy” by new city council regulations.

Andrew Long, who runs the craft stall outside British Home Stores in Market Street, said traders will be asked to cut the size of their stalls to a maximum 4.5m by 3m if new plans are brought in for the layout of the market.

Mr Long’s stall is 9m by 3m, and he says the reduction “would ruin the business”.

He said: “We are faced with either leaving the market or having such a drop in our income that we will have to drastically cut costs so that we can eat. We are being faced with poverty.”

Mr Long said he was told the stalls had to be reduced due to the new street furniture and layout introduced as part of the Square Routes refurbishment project.

He said: “I have tried to run the stall at the size they are suggesting and it just doesn’t work – it’s not possible to run the business that size.

“The council just does not care about the individuals concerned.

“They wouldn’t ask shops to reduce in size or relocate; it feels like we don’t matter.”

Mark Davies, Lancaster City Council’s chief officer (environment), said: “It is my intention to present cabinet with a report later this year to determine the future layout of the market.

“The report will be informed by the recent extensive consultations that have taken place on this subject.

“This has generated an excellent response from market based businesses, shop based businesses and members of the public and has provoked a very healthy debate that will help inform how we ensure the future of the Charter Market for the benefit of the city as a whole.”

The plans will be discussed at a cabinet meeting on December 2.