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Hempsted Meadows car boot sale market falls victim to health and safety

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 26, 2013

ANGRY: Bob Newby outside the market, which shut down minutes before it was due to open.

Comments (3)

MARKET traders hoping to boost winter profits were left furious by a decision to shut Hempsted Meadows Market just minutes before gates were due to open.

City council chiefs have come under fire after a decision to keep the gates locked due to health and safety fears.

Traders and shoppers were angry at the move on Wednesday as privately-run Cheltenham Racecourse Market stayed open on Sunday at the height of the snow.

Bob Newby, from Sandhurst, is a market regular and said the decision came too late, just minutes before traders arrived on site at 5.30am.

"Yet again, five millimeters of snow and the council's reaction is to close up shop and go home," he said.

"No wonder our city has the nickname of 'The Graveyard'.

"Despite traders phoning to check the market would be open for business, the council operatives put the closed sign up just five minutes before opening time. Dozens of traders from as far as Wales and Redditch were queuing with as many shoppers to get in, only to be turned away on the grounds of safety, regardless of the impact on traders' livelihoods.

"This is yet another nail in the coffin of their existence."

Frost, surface water and snow have all previously been used as reasons to close the market.

There are 199 pitches for traders and free parking for more than 400 cars.

The city council insists the decision was made due to concerns over health and safety.

A council spokesman said: "We do not shut down our services lightly.

"In the current bad weather, we have been one of only two councils in the county to have kept its refuse collection service operating. However, when we have sudden and significant snowfalls, we need to take account of public safety."

Hempsted Meadows Market and car boot sale takes place every Wednesday and Sunday.

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  • reeley  |  January 26 2013, 3:49PM

    in this sue at the drop of a hat culture, councils have little choice but to shut up shop if there is the slightest risk that they may be the subject of the Accident Claims Lawyers. I look forward to the rise of a breed of lawyers who start proceedings against people who 'should have been more careful'.

    |   3
  • TimMessanger  |  January 26 2013, 1:55PM

    Remember the blame-claim gang's favourite targets are the local councils!

    |   3
  • JeanGRIGG  |  January 26 2013, 12:04PM

    I am not sure that the car park allocation is correct any more, following a summer termoil, some grass areas are in need of levelling so that the full compliment can be again maximised! For the summer this comment is relevant lets have the full facility back in use - please! HSE is and should be controlled by the Authority, shutting the show at anytime is a priority and could happen, for safety reasons, last minute choice isnt actually the worse case scenario but I do agree with that policy.Customer jg (wednesdays, usually).