We are now on the cusp of a horrible forced situation whereby the administration is pressuring us to sign a contract any day. This is the fourth attempt to drive us off the market - that is the few of us who are left, most of whom are longstanding traders.
The contract, apart from being illegal in many respects and making no sense in many respects will actually do the following, although many traders do not fully grasp this and see it just as a set of Terms and Conditions.
The traders are being used as a front to sign away the Charter to a political party so that it becomes a private enterprise as opposed to a Community market which serves the City and the Public.
It will give forced consent from traders to the administration, leaving them no alternative but to use, erect and store their own equipment. This will free up the ground floor of the depot and the stalls which sit there now will be scrapped forever and the Charter Market will never return to what it was before Covid. When they want the stalls back. A survey was done by the Herts Ad. confirming this and showed a clear majority 31 wanted stalls and 8 gazebos, taken on the Wednesday. Gazebos signify the end as are impractical in every way and unsafe in high winds in a built-up area.
The contract will also force traders to relinquish their regular pitches at any time to make way and give preference to any event on Charter days which the administration plan. There is a clause to that effect. This is illegal in that the Charter Market should take precedence over any other requirement for use of the space on Charter days. I know this as it has happened at other markets in the country and the judge has overruled giving priority to the Charter at all times and indeed any market which has significant history.
It will secure the planned demise of the Charter Market which traders have been witnessing first-hand over the last two-three years and has been a long-term strategy, kept a secret for over two years with a view to arriving at this point. The demise of the Charter Market will make way for the indoor market which has been planned (confirmed to us by Clllr Mandy McNeil) and allow to prosper the new BID market which is now operating on a Friday, costing less than half the price of our market to stall our, and with Gazebos provided. We were told in a meeting a week ago that the Wednesday market is not popular with ethnic minority groups. What about the people who need to buy goods from whichever other groups live in the City?
The Charter Market days have provided necessary goods to the Community hence the lack of shops in the City Centre which provide some of those goods. The fruit and veg stalls feed the City and its environs at low prices. The market is a centre pivotal part of the Community of St. Albans and many people rely on it for social interaction and it gives their lives stability and it is why they love this City.
The newly imposed T's & C's can be downloaded, below: