Call to abolish Rasen council amid trader eviction row

North's fruit and veg stall faces eviction after serving the town since 1958 EMN-160131-104436001
North's fruit and veg stall faces eviction after serving the town since 1958 EMN-160131-104436001
  • Mayor jumps to authority’s defence: move would be ‘catastrophic’ for town

Market Rasen’s county councillor is calling for the town council to be abolished after its controversial decision to evict a popular market trader.

Market Rasen Town Council has given an eviction notice to the long-serving North’s fruit and veg stall, prompting a backlash from residents with 1,874 people signing a petition against the move.

And now county councillor Burt Keimach - a former leader of West Lindsey District Council and town council mayor himself - has called for 
drastic action to end the dispute.

He said: “Having read your account about the wish of councillors to evict a popular market trader, it seems to me the solution lies in the abolition of the town council.

“The petition supporting the well-respected Norths could very easily be translated into a first step with the district council to achieve this.

“When I was mayor it was an impossible battle to get councillors to take action on anything. Admittedly they have very few powers, or even statutory duties.

“I don’t know why they’re there, it’s as simple as that.”

And Coun Keimach said taxpayers were not getting anything for their money from the town authority.

He said: “They’re taking up money.

“People aren’t getting anything for their money and they’re [the town council] doing a lot of harm.

“It’s up to the town council to prove they’re worth keeping if they want to stay on.

“Minor things could be done a lot more efficiently by the district council.”

Coun Keimach added: “It’s a wonderful stall and would be a shame to lose it.

“I saw them today (Friday, February 5) and they were doing a pretty brisk trade.”

Mayor responds to Coun Keimach

Market Rasen town mayor John Matthews has defended his council after Coun Burt Keimach’s suggestion it should be scrapped.

Coun Matthews said: “It would be catastrophic [abolishing the town council].

“If it wasn’t for people like town councillors pothole and street light reports wouldn’t get done. Highways wouldn’t check.

“Folk come to us if there’s a pothole.

“If you look at the way devolution is going, it’ll be WLDC that gets abolished.”

The argument comes after Bryan Spittlehouse, who runs the fruit and veg stall with wife Jennie North, accused the town council of ‘killing the town’.

He said: “The stall is nearly part of the furniture of Market Rasen and people still want us here.

“Market Rasen Town Council is there for the people of Market Rasen, not the other way round.

“They’re trying to kill the town.

“It’s bound to have a detrimental knock on effect.

“We just think it’s a disgrace.

“It doesn’t make any sense.”