Anger over Bridgnorth plan to move market stall
A disgruntled horticulture enthusiast has demanded answers from every Bridgnorth councillor after the decision was made to move a stall designated for charities and non-profit group.
The stall at Bridgnorth Saturday market is being moved from the High Street to a smaller spot under the market hall from May.
Bridgnorth and District Horticultural Society is one of the groups that use it, and secretary Richard Lucas insists the new plot is significantly smaller and will attract far less business. He has penned letters to every town councillor to demand an explanation.
Mr Lucas said: "It'll barely be worth it. In the High Street we had a big pitch which you could fill with all your produce to sell. You get three tables and then lots of space behind."
He added: "We didn't know anything about this until we went to book our slot.
"What it comes down to is that the council think they can make more money back by letting it out to a commercial enterprise.
"By doing this, I think they are doing a great disservice to the charities and organisations. Surely part of their duties are to look after the interests of the people of the town they are looking after.
"Under the town hall it is very crowded. It only takes a few people for it to become very cramped."
The plot used to cost charities £6.60 a day, but now the new slot under the hall will cost £11.
"They're basically halving our space and giving us a plot where we're getting much less footfall and charging twice as much," added Mr Lucas.
For the current financial year, which finishes at the end of this month, the council has only rented out the High Street spot to charities and organisations 18 Saturdays out of 52, making around £100 in total. The authority plans to rent the site out to a commercial tenant for around £1,000, potentially adding £850 plus to the coffers.
Councillor Lee Jakeman said: "We appreciate Mr Lucas' comments and concerns. The council’s gazebo, which has previously been offered to local charities, is now in a state of disrepair and would be too costly to replace. With the relocation of the stall, this provides a natural shelter from the elements under the Town Hall, removing the requirement to purchase a new gazebo. There may also be the opportunity for the use of the electricity supply, subject to availability, which is not currently offered on the High Street pitch.
"The market under the Town Hall is thriving and some of our traders have been successful for over 50 years, therefore this move should not prove to be to the detriment of charity stall holders.
"We hope that in reaching its decision, the Town Hall pitch will still be of benefit to many."