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Bromley stall holders fury

Val Buckley

Val Buckley

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Market traders claim yet more delays in moving them to a bustling high street are threatening their livelihood.

Bromley Charter Market stall owners have been waiting to transfer from Station Road for more than three years in the hope that a more central location will bring them more custom.

They had expected to move to the High Street on October 7 but there has been yet another setback which the council blamed on a legal issue.

The Charter Market, open on Thursdays, was granted a royal charter some 800 years ago by King John meaning that no other market could take place on the same day in the nearby vicinity.

The council says it recently discovered an exemption in street trading for charter markets which it needs to seek advice on.

Traders said they have been asked whether they want to remove the charter altogether.

Greetings cards trader Val Buckley, 62, of Haileybury Road, Orpington, has worked there since 1989. She said: “It’s ridiculous. Of course it’s affecting our livelihoods. We’ve all been really excited about moving.

“We don’t know what to do or say to the council. It shouldn’t be up to us to decide whether to remove a law made 800 years ago. We just can’t understand why when all the infrastrucure is in place it is that difficult to move us. Everybody thinks our market has closed down because of the market that is in the High Street on Fridays and Saturdays- they think that we’ve already moved.”

The stall owners were told on September 9 that the move has been delayed. Trader John Plume, 56, said: “People are not very happy at all. It seems like the council is doing whatever it can to slow down the move. How can it take three years to move a market?

“We told all our customers we were moving on October 7 and we made a load of signs. Now they said it might be in March. “

A Bromley council spokesperson said: “We have spoken to traders and they are essentially aware of the background- while looking at the practical arrangements for re-locating the market we have discovered a legal issue. Crudely there is an exemption from street trading laws for charter markets and by relocating it, Bromley council would currently in effect have no power to regulate it, leaving traders and consumers open to problems. We are revising plans to move the market and hope to do so in 2011.”

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