Rasen fruit and veg traders confirm town departure

Traders Bryan Spittlehouse and Jennie North EMN-180405-134836001
Traders Bryan Spittlehouse and Jennie North EMN-180405-134836001

Market Rasen’s long-serving fruit and veg stall that won a legal battle to stay on the market has confirmed it will not be returning due to a ‘soul destroying’ lack of footfall.

North’s Fruit and Veg said footfall in the town was declining - and that loyal customers had shunned the stall following the legal dispute with Market Rasen Town Council.

Jennie North and Bryan Spittlehouse, of North’s Fruit and Veg, took legal action against the town council after being served with an eviction notice for allegedly ‘moving council property’, opening the market without ‘correct authorisation’ and ‘unacceptable behaviour’.

Last month the Rasen Mail reported how North’s Fruit and Veg had switched its licence with the town council from ‘regular’ to ‘casual’

Mr Spittlehouse, who has just opened a fruit and veg shop in Hull, said: “We’re not coming back.

“The footfall in Market Rasen is really declining.

“We have a fruit and veg shop in Hull now - it’s very, very busy.

“It was time to move on.

“Unfortunately it got to be soul destroying.

“A lot of regular customers didn’t want to know us because of this - they thought we did something wrong.

“Trade seemed to go down once we won the case.

“When this legal case was coming up we weren’t doing too bad trade wise.”

North’s last had a stall at the market in April, just before the opening of the traders’ new shop on April 
27.

Last week the Mail reported how the town council had come under fire at its annual town meeting for a hike in its administration costs.

Coun Steve Bunney confirmed the total net cost to the council of the legal action over two years had been £15,000 to £16,000.

Mayoress’s angry outburst over critical Rasen Mail articles:

In an angry outburst during a town council meeting, the wife of Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews slammed the Rasen Mail for its reports criticising the authority.

Speaking in the public forum at the meeting on May 2, Jayne Matthews said: “I’m disgusted with the Rasen Mail. You lot [council] do a fantastic job, it’s about time you got recognition.

“The report in the paper was a shame. We’ve done the Norths, it’s done.

“It’s disgusting. No one buys it [the Rasen Mail], they just read it on Facebook.”

Articles in last week’s Rasen Mail saw resident Richard Brooks criticise the council for its spending on legal fees and decision to give a community award to two councillors for work to secure a skate park.

Mrs Matthews added: “I would like to ask this Mr Brooks if he would like to join the council.”

Mr Brooks told the Mail: “Co-option doesn’t sit easily with me as it’s undemocratic.

“Any resident paying council tax has the right to express their views and question the town council, however uncomfortable it may be for the Councillors or their wives/husbands/partners.”