MARKET SUPERVISOR: 'Talk to stallholders'

PUBLISHED: 14:45 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:56 15 June 2010

AN open letter from Honiton's market supervisor Terry Farebrother... I understand that there was anti-market feeling in some of the views expressed at last week's meeting, between shopkeepers and councillors.

AN open letter from Honiton's market supervisor Terry Farebrother...I understand that there was anti-market feeling in some of the views expressed at last week's meeting, between shopkeepers and councillors.It should be remembered that Honiton Street Market is a 'down-to-earth' general market and always has been, which is part of its charm. You only have to look at the sepia photographs of a century ago to know this.The market is currently run under the health and safety conditions laid down in the risk assessment report published in August 2007 and this was compiled using the criteria supplied by the Health and Safety Executive.Each market pitch was individually assessed, with each stallholder signing their agreement, and copies of the report were sent to all of the relevant authorities, with a further copy being lodged with the National Market Traders Federation.Any suggested changes to these conditions should be put in writing, referring to the relevant pitch number, so that the stallholder can be informed, as well as their Federation, who hold the master copy.The risk assessment report of August 2007 is due to be reviewed later this year, to incorporate the Corporate Mansalughter Act, which came into force last April, and covers health and safety in the workplace, which in this respect are the market pitches rented out by the district council.I think that the next step should be to have a meeting with the stallholders themselves, because this is their market where they earn their living.Due to the fact that traders cannot leave their stalls, and most have a long journey home, it would be difficult trying to hold a meeting under one roof.I would suggest that a couple of councillors, with clipboards, take time out to go around the market, speak to the stallholders and note their views and concerns.Around half of the stallholders attending Honiton Street Market have been trading in the town for over 10 years, with some of them notching up over 20 years, so they deserve to be consulted on any changes being planned.Tavistock and Newton Abbot have invested thousands of pounds on their markets over the last few years so, if Honiton wants to be revamped and improved, the local authorities will have to be prepared to spend some money.At the end of this year, I reach the age where I can draw my State, local government and private pensions and, although I had planned to carry on with my market duties, if a situation arises where I have to compromise on the safety and smooth-running of the market, I will choose to step down and give more time to running my shop.The town is facing a period when it needs to regenerate itself and I will do my best, as always, to help in this transformation, whilst making sure that Honiton does not lose the qualities that make it unique.

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