Rent refund over ‘rival’ Tesco market

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Town councillors have agreed to refund traders their Saturday stall rent, after they complained a charity market in the Tesco car park took their trade away.

The suggestion came from Coun Nigel Cook, who had received complaints from stallholders of the regular town centre market, who were upset at a ‘semi-official’ rival market Tesco held in its supermarket car park on November 22, which raised £300 for Lincoln Hospital’s Waddington Ward for cancer victims.

“Market Rasen is not big enough to support two markets. I have nothing against this charity but the traders were all complaining. The regular market was completely dead because everybody was at this market which was semi-official,” he said.

The Tesco market had ‘borrowed’ 14 stalls from the town council, and as well as charity stalls, it also featured traders from the regular MR BIG markets, whose rent went to charity, but were able to make ‘profit’ for themselves.

Coun Cook said the charity market did not cost Tesco anything to stage as it would have increased footfall into the store. The supermarket had not consulted the town council over the market and if it wanted to run charity markets, they should be in Market Place. He also said the regular Saturday market traders were also not invited to stand the Tesco market.

Coun Steve Bunney said issues like this would be ideal for discussions at the town’s Market Forum.

“We can’t stop Tesco having events on their own land but we want them to work with us,” he said.

While the town council can loan out its stalls, they have to be for ‘community events’, Coun Bunney continued.

Coun John McNeill said “he did not feel happy about the market being there” in the Tesco car park.

“It’s not right they were running that sort of event on private property,” he said.

But Coun James Patton commented: “We are not being very charitable, are we?”

Members narrowly voted to refund that day’s stall rent to those who stood the regular market that Saturday.

Tesco Market Rasen manager Ian Black said after the meeting: “The council lent us the stalls so were fully aware of what was going ahead. We never called it a market, it was always called a Christmas Fayre.”

Ian added it was a shame the fayre has received such criticism as feedback from its customers and traders was so good, he has had requests to stage similar fayres next summer and Christmas. He also doubted the fayre took trade from the market as they sold different things.