Almost 1,400 people have signed a petition to save the town’s biggest market stall from being evicted by the town council in what shoppers have called a “ridiculous” decision.
Market Rasen Town Council has appointed a solicitor to serve an eviction notice on the popular North’s fruit and veg stall, which has served the town since 1958.
Bryan Spittlehouse, who runs the stall with wife Jennie North, has accused the council of ‘killing the town’ and shoppers have spoken about the trader being ‘vital’ to Market Rasen.
It comes as the town council has been looking to improve the market, which has left residents even more puzzled.
The council made the decision behind closed doors, with minutes from the meeting (on December 2) stating M&J Catering (the burger van) had complained about the fruit and veg stall and that councillors had “concerns over the number of problems [with North’s]”.
No further details about the alleged ‘problems’ have been given and M&J Catering declined to comment.
Mr Spittlehouse said: “They [the council] won’t tell us what problems they are.
“There’s something not quite right.
“The stall is nearly part of the furniture of Market Rasen and people still want us here.
“We’ve got the extra personal touch - we know everyone’s name.
“Customers expect us to be here whether it’s raining or snowing.
“We traded in a foot and a half of snow one year.
“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.
“Market Rasen’s becoming a ghost town - and we don’t need that.
“We just think it’s a disgrace.
“It doesn’t make any sense.”
Mr Spittlehouse and Mrs North started the petition on Friday (January 29) and got 292 signatures in just one day. 1,361 people have now signed it.
It is available at Lancaster Butchers, Starbucks, Total Beauty, Walter’s and Coupland’s.
As it stands North’s will have to leave the market by April 8.
Lizzie Thody, who works at Starbucks, said: “We get all of our veg from there - even for the quiches.
“It would be a bit of problem for us if it goes.
“A lot of them [our customers] are quite shocked about it.
“Other than Tesco and the Co-op that’s the only place in town to get fruit and vegetables.”
Shopper Eva Smith said: “I’d miss this place dreadfully - sometimes this stall is the only one here. If the council want to make it a market town, this is ridiculous. It’s another blow to the town. It’d be lost without it, it’s absolutely vital.”
Resident Sylvia Cade said: “I don’t understand it at all. They’re (the council) complaining about the amount of stalls on the market, and then they do this.”
Olive Ellis said: “It’s absolutely disgusting, it’s been going for years. It’s dreadful. A lot of older people go because they can buy just a few things. The man has been faithful all these years.”
Mandy Topham said: “We need to know why they have done this. And why was it decided behind closed doors?”
Louise Farro said: “In a town that is slowly closing down, the town council should be supporting, encouraging business.”
Donna Weber said: “I was very shocked and saddened. The fruit and veg stall pretty much is our market, this will be another nail in the coffin for our dwindling town.”