Council needs to clean up act on Market Place

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EDITOR – Regarding your front page article in the Rasen Mail, June 8, 2011 and that the Market Place is losing between £2,000-£4,000 per annum, it is solely the town council’s responsibility to reduce this deficit as, in its wisdom, it took on the long-term lease from the owner.

To have the odd car parked there is pathetic. During the regeneration of Market Rasen in excess of £80,000 was spent on the Market Place. Included in the works was placement of cast iron bollards (much in need of painting), and together with these bollards some much lighter aluminium bollards with steel recessed and locking points for the sole purpose of blocking off the Market Place for any forthcoming events.

One such bollard remains chained up under the auction shed.

The said bollards were used for a while to great effect but then the padlock keys began to get misplaced and the Market Place manager decided the bollards were too heavy for him to carry.

Perhaps a barrow or trolley could have been provided. Where are the aluminium bollards now, and if lost why have they not been replaced and the fixing points, which are a trip hazard, been maintained?

In an attempt to resolve the problem when I was a town councillor I provided a steel chain to be suspended and locked between the bollards.

Again the padlocks and keys continued to go missing and the procedure was discarded, together with the fact the chains were also considered too heavy for the manager to carry.

Traditionally market day in Rasen is on a Tuesday only, not Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. Some fish was sold on a Friday and some fruit and veg on a Saturday, but there were not three market days.

The cattle market was traditionally held on a Wednesday. It was with the cattle market, especially with the coming of the railway station, that Market Rasen greatly increased its importance and is probably why its name was changed from East Rasen to Market Rasen, and not the existence of the Market Place.

Obviously the town council needs to reduce its deficit, but why does it insist on catering for outside market traders? The pitch rent is laughable and the organisation is appalling.

There is no control or enforcement and the traders can do virtually anything they want. They can have as much space as they want, they can park as many of their own vehicles, trailers etc on the cobbles free of charge, they can leave without sweeping up after them.

At any other market in the area traders are allowed a pitch only, at a fixed rate and all traders’ vehicles have to be parked elsewhere.

All of the traders pay a minimal pitch fee, no property maintenance costs, no huge business rates, no service charges and all their dealing are cash.

There are already seven empty business properties in the main street, four right next to the Market Place.

What is the town council doing to help town businesses?

My wife and I have given up going to any town meetings about the organisation of the Market Place as absolutely nothing ever changes. The only thing that ever changes is the town council members, none of whom have actually been elected.

What is the point of having no parking on the Market Place to cater for two or three market traders.

Parking is already a shortage in Rasen. There are inadequate parking place signs for anyone passing through the town as many were removed during the ‘regeneration’ and never replaced.

To erect signs three evenings a week in the Market Place stating no parking at all due to market traders – as the town council have done for years – is very misleading for anyone visiting the town. How can one stop and buy anything if there is nowhere to park?

All the remaining bollards need repainting. The park benches new timber, replacing and repainting. The auction shed guttering is in a continued state of very poor repair.

The whole organisation of the Market Place seriously needs addressing. It is the town council which needs to get its act together and not the odd person parking inconsiderately.

If the town council leads by example, then the townsfolk or anyone visiting or passing through will follow suit, with respect, courtesy and consideration.

Archie Farrow

Market Rasen