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LETTER: Spalding market trader's anger at council

I would like to place on record my thoughts and respond to media reports from South Holland District Council regarding Spalding market post COVID shutdown.

I was shocked when we were told that Spalding market would close completely during lockdown. Many of the other local markets continued safely to supply stalls to people who sold food.

This was done safely and supported greatly by locals.

Closing the market completely was wrong. Government advised that markets were a safer way to shop than supermarkets. By closing the Spalding market you have given the big supermarkets all our income – we had no way of trading.

Local business people who have stood in Spalding market for decades (my own stall has been in Spalding for over 34 years), lost 12 weeks of revenue, solely because of the district council’s inability to consult with traders or even offer a solution.

We were then told Spalding market would be returning, with less than seven days’ notice, also to be told that stalls would not be set up or provided. The reason being that it was not safe to set them up.

Other markets have set up 40-50 stalls during lockdown. Stalls are big enough to allow social distancing anyway.

But then to be also told that I couldn’t borrow a stall or buy one, because ‘they were to be scrapped’ is an absolute disgrace. And to attempt to move it to a car park, going against the market charter, was absurd.

Furthermore, all media reports stated that stall holders had been consulted. I was never consulted, nor were any of my fellow stall holders who stand near me.

You cannot just ask a couple of traders and take their words. All traders should have been informed.

Spalding market it seems is an unwanted ‘hassle’ for some inside the district council. Many Spalding residents rely on the market to purchase many items weekly. They do not want it to disappear.I have seen emails from Sir John Hayes MP that state that he is strongly against any change to the market’s location and is bemused by the lack of stalls and the excuses given.

We need to get new traders, we need the market subsidised and some traders would appreciate grants that were not offered to us, until too late to claim.

Any potential new stall holders should be allowed to stand for free for at least a month. And all old traders that have left should be contacted and offered a pitch.

Stall holders, if given the chance, would run the market far better than someone who has no idea about how markets run and can be a success and great asset to the town.

I am available anytime to discuss this and am willing to attend meetings if asked.

Craig Lyons

Owner of The Spice

Market stall

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