Mind-boggling pettiness eviction of market stall by bully-boys at Lincoln City Council

Covid-19 has accelerated shopping on-line by at least ten years, failing High Street chains floating on a sea of debt are falling like flies, shedding staff, and this will accelerate as furlough ends.

Enter dysfunctional Lincoln City Council in an act of mind-boggling pettiness decides to evict a fruit and vegetable market stall from Lincoln Central Market falsely claiming the stall too big.

The stall was a lifeline for many during lockdown when they carried on trading, especially for those who could not get out when they set up a veg box home delivery scheme.

Steve Sharpe has run a market stall in Lincoln for 35 years, with the help of his daughter Beth four years within Lincoln Central Market.

The stall accounts for at least 80% of the market football. If the stall goes it will hit the few remaining stalls in the market. It will also hit indie businesses in Sincil Street. It will hit those who rely on the stall for a low cost source of fresh produce, and there is nothing as fresh as grown by Steve and picked that morning. It will hit local coffee shops and restaurants that rely on the stall for their fresh produce.

All of this counts for nothing to the council bully-boys who are waging a vindictive vendetta against Steve for daring to criticise the appalling state of the market, the lack of investment.

Lincoln a county town in the middle of an agricultural county yet lacks a decent market.

Rules of the market:

  • stall within allocated space
  • rent paid monthly in advance
  • trading within specified times on Market Days
  • allotted space clean and tidy
  • eviction on a whim

The market stall always clean and tidy. If not within it allotted space, the difference must be marginal, it is not obstructing any thoroughfares, end of the stall is in line with other stalls.

Council jobsworth claims stall exceeds its allotted space, that have held extensive talks with the stallholders.

Steve and Beth dispute this.  No discussion, hand delivered letters claiming non compliance.

It is not beyond the wit of the most incompetent council jobsworth to delineate the stall boundaries with chalk lines. If there is then a dispute resolve through arbitration not eviction. And it is not as though space is at a premium in an empty dying market.

The alleged discussions, produce minutes (accuracy of which will have been checked by Steve and Beth otherwise worthless), date, time, duration, location.

Council jobsworth claim the stall is unfair to other traders in the market. Difficult to comprehend how a stall that generates at least 80% of the market footfall is placing other stalls at a disadvantage. On the other hand, eviction of the stall that generates the footfall the market will die as will lose most of its footfall.

A formal complaint has been lodged with the council leader

  • richard.metcalfe@lincoln.gov.uk

who to date has not had the courtesy to respond.

And just when think the council bully boys can sink no lower, are now claiming the reason for eviction is secret, cannot tell.

The market is public space, the loss of the fruit and vegetable stall is a matter of public interest.

The council in cahoots with the local coop has trashed the outdoor market, Sincil Street, Cornhill, destroyed local businesses, to attract chain stores and eateries that can find anywhere and everywhere that lose the sense of place, increase alienation, drain money out of the local economy.

The hidden agenda would appear to be to destruction of Lincoln Central Market for redevelopment.

What is the hidden agenda? Having trashed the surrounding area, destroyed local businesses, is Central Market next? A dirty back door deal with the local coop?

Look to the Butter Market in Newark where local traders were kicked out to bring in Cosy Club. Sound familiar?

Something stinks and it is not the smell of rotting cabbages.

Please sign the on-line petition objecting to the eviction.

If live in Lincoln please contact your local councillors and local Member of Parliament Karl McCartney and ask them to stop this eviction, and at the very least go and visit the stall talk to customers and check for themselves the facts not rely on officials running a vindictive vendetta for criticism of a badly run market.

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