Honiton market trading: DCC acknowledges error

Honiton mayor, Caroline Kolek.

Honiton mayor, Caroline Kolek. - Credit: Archant

Honiton Town Council (HTC) has successfully defended the rights of its town’s market after traders were told they could not use their vehicles on High Street.

At last week’s town council meeting, Cllr Caroline Kolek said the council was ‘very concerned’ about two civil enforcement officers employed by Devon County Council (DCC) arriving early in the morning, and insisting Honiton’s market traders could not trade from their vehicles.

But now, thanks to evidence collected by the council and Honiton’s market manager, Tony McCollum, Mrs Kolek says she has received an apology from an enforcement manager at DCC.

At the town council’s meeting on Monday, August 8, Mrs Kolek had branded the officers’ behaviour as ‘threatening’ after one trader was allegedly told he could be fined up to five times a day if they chose to trade from their vehicle.

Town councillors unanimously agreed the council would write to DCC with gathered evidence collated over many years demonstrating that the town’s traders, covered by a charter that is 759 years old, can trade from a variety of stalls and vehicles.

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Mrs Kolek says she has since received a phone call from an enforcement manager at DCC, apologising for the confusion, and was told the officers would not be coming back and harassing the traders.

She added: “Our market is vital to Honiton, for our local people and for drawing in visitors and shoppers outside of the town.

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“Our traders must be supported.

“We are pleased that enforcement officers visit to address illegal parking and those who park and block our traders.

“We can now move on and hopefully work together to encourage more traders to our busy market days on Tuesdays and Saturdays and also build up our market on Thursdays as well.”

A spokesman for Devon County Council said: “It was a simple misunderstanding by a few of our civil enforcement officers – the difficulty on market days being differentiating between vehicles parked legitimately for trading as opposed to those also parked by members of the public for their convenience.

“But we’ve spoken to the mayor, apologised for our mistake, and the matter’s now resolved.”

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