Bideford market row is ‘a strip too far’

A strip too far... Bideford Farmers Market trader Dan Garnett shows the section of Jubilee Square th

A strip too far... Bideford Farmers Market trader Dan Garnett shows the section of Jubilee Square the traders say they are now unable to put their stalls on. The shops pictured are nothing to do with the dispute. - Credit: Archant

Farmers market traders angry after new licence ruling means they can no longer use part of Jubilee Square.

A row has broken out between market traders and the council over a strip of land at Jubilee Square in Bideford.

Stall holders are angry after being issued a new licence by Torridge District Council which says they may not use a 2.9 metre wide section of the square.

It has emerged a restrictive covenant established when it was sold means no street furniture or advertising may be placed there.

Traders say the loss of a fifth of the area means they cannot have as many stalls in the square and will have to block off one of the entrances.

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Dan Garnett, chairman of Bideford Farmers Market Association, said the situation was ‘absurd’ and a ‘fiasco’:

“Tax payers have paid thousands for improvements to the square and then we discover we can’t use it all,” he said.

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“I would like to see common sense prevail and am sure with the support of Bideford people we can find a compromise and a way forward. We only want to sell our produce.

“This is a great little town and I am proud to be part of it. We would like to thank many of our local councillors and others who have been trying to resolve this unfortunate situation.”

But the Leader of Torridge Council, Cllr Philip Collins, said he felt it was ‘a big fuss over nothing’.

“Yes there has been a misunderstanding over the leasing agreement and covenants on some of the land, but at the end of the day we all want the Farmers’ Market to be a success,” he said.

“With just a little re-organisation they can still make use of the whole square. We have bent over backwards to work with the newly formed Farmers Market Association, footfall in Bideford increases when they are in town so other local permanent businesses benefit too. Let’s just get on with it!”

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