Kendal Outdoor Market © Trevor Batchelor
Kendal Outdoor Market © Trevor Batchelor

Market traders overwhelmingly support the idea of managing the market themselves, in a bid to avoid privatisation.

27 Kendal market traders from both indoor and outdoor markets provided ample evidence of the level of interest present in avoiding the market privatisation, in a “straw poll” requested by SLDC councillors. 15 indoor and 12 outdoor market traders said yes to halting the privatisation process, and setting a new timeline sufficient to allow traders to form a co-operative.

Paul Braithwaite, Chair of South Lakes Labour which has been instrumental in pressing the views of market traders upon the council, said “This is a welcome development which may enable the voices of market traders to be heard. They are the best people, with the best skills to manage and make success of the market, far better than a private company, profiteering and enforcing their ideas upon the market traders to everyone else’s cost, a model we have seen fail elsewhere”

This follows survey results undertaken by South Lakes Labour, with 85% of traders saying that they had not been consulted properly by S.L.D.C., and 90% stating that they were opposed to privatisation.

As a result council officers and councillors invited members of South Lakes Labour to meet with them to discuss matters, but they failed to invite market traders, who nevertheless attended through the auspices of the Labour members.

South Lakes Labour is concerned however that the council will force market traders into the privatisation process, by requiring them to make a competitive bid against private companies, rather than offering them the opportunity of a trader run market, which is a different model to that of privatisation.

South Lakes Labour members asked councillors if they had fully explained the various government endorsed options to run a market, which include, remaining under council control, being privatised or a trader run market, but councillors were unable to say that they had properly explained these options before embarking upon the privatisation route.


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