Letters revealed in Rasen market eviction row

North's fruit and veg stall faces eviction after serving the town since 1958 EMN-160131-104506001
North's fruit and veg stall faces eviction after serving the town since 1958 EMN-160131-104506001

Letters sent to the traders at the centre of Market Rasen’s stall eviction row accuse them of ‘moving council property’, opening the market without ‘correct authorisation’ and ‘unacceptable behaviour’.

North’s fruit and veg stall was served an eviction notice by Market Rasen Town Council which claimed the trader had repeatedly broken rules - and had been sent several disciplinary letters, dating back to 2012.

“These letters of warning are not issued lightly.”

Market Rasen Mayor

But Jennie North and Bryan Spittlehouse, who run the stall, were left gobsmacked by the eviction notice and started a petition, which has now been signed by nearly 2,000 

The couple then asked the council for copies of all letters sent since 2012 - and they have now shared them with the Rasen 

In a letter sent to Mrs North on November 7, 2012, the council stated: “I am writing to you to advise you that we have received two reports regarding your behaviour on the above date (Saturday, October 27, 2012) towards Mr Peter Bristow, council caretaker.

“As council caretaker, Peter is responsible for the supervising and running of the Market Place, this includes location of bollards/chains and stall locations.

“We do not expect any bollards or chains to be moved by customers or market traders. Peter does his best to accommodate all market traders at all times.

“On Saturday 27th October, Peter Bristow followed direct instructions….. and I understand that Peter received an unpleasant response from you.

“This kind of response is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our market.

“Please can I ask that you refrain from using this kind of language to address a member of the council.

“I do understand your concerns with us closing off the Market Place, however the situation was assessed on a number of occasions and was felt necessary to close off part of the Market Place.”

Another letter was sent to the couple on July 28, 

This stated: “I am writing with reference to the way you both conducted yourselves on Saturday 20th July 2013 which left much to be desired.

“May I remind you that it is unacceptable behaviour to direct any form of profanity or degradation towards a council officer, especially in a professional and working environment.

“It is also improper conduct to openly cast dispersions on councillors who are committed towards the overall improvement and development of our markets.”

This letter went on to say there was a ‘perceivable spirit of non-cooperation’ on behalf of the traders and that this needed 

It added: “There simply cannot be any further repetition of this type of behaviour or we may have to reassess your current standing.”

And the final disciplinary letter was sent to the couple on November 6, 2013.

This stated: “I am writing to you to express our concerns over your conduct on our market, which has been brought to our attention over a number of months.

“We are unfortunately now at the position where your current standing on our market needs to be 

“A number of reports have been received regarding you moving council property and opening up the market without the correct authorisation and your overall behaviour.

“The council have every right to cone off the market if we wish and feel there is a need due to events 

Mr Spittlehouse said: “The letters date back to 2012.

“The last one was sent in 2013.

“It’s very confusing - for everyone who has seen the letters.”

Market Rasen mayor John Matthews previously said: “These letters of warning are not issued lightly.”

M&J Catering respond:

The eviction came after complaint (details not disclosed) from trader M &J Catering.

M&J Catering had intially declined to comment, but has now said: “We have been accused of getting them evicted by the town council because of a letter of complaint. Yes we have written a letter of complaint which is totally justified. The general public have only heard one side of the story. The general public have jumped on the bandwagon and signed a petition without listening and thinking what’s going on.

Have you not thought an eviction would not take place by one letter of complaint?”