IMAGINE this. You rent a shop and start a clothes business. After 14 years of very hard work your shop is incredibly successful – in fact, it is one of the most successful clothes shops in the UK.
Your landlord, seeing that you are doing well, thinks that he could make a lot more money out of the shop now that it is so successful, so decides to put the shop lease up for tender for “one of the most successful clothes shops in the UK”, in the hope of attracting large offers from other businesses. Luckily for shopkeepers this is illegal under the Landlord and Tenant Act.
Why is the situation with the farmers’ market any different? If the market was a flop, or only an average success, this “tendering” would not be happening. How can I be judged negatively because the market is a success? How have the council worked out that this is a fair way to treat my business? How can I tender for something that is mine? How can it be legal for the council to put the premises that I use to run my business from up to the highest bidder? It is extraordinarily unethical.
The detail of the tender shows also that the new licensee has to basically hand over all information about who, how, where and how much for every market. But this information is Made in Stroud Ltd’s information. It is the information and knowledge we have spent 14 years amassing. In modern parlance, those are the intellectual property rights of Made in Stroud Ltd.
The council requires all this information to be handed over and that information then becomes the IPR of the council!
The sad thing is that when I finally had the meeting at the council – a meeting that I requested – at which they announced their plans for the tender, I was expecting a hefty rent rise. I understand these are hard times for councils. I would have been – and still am – happy to sit down and negotiate a new rental price.
People should know we have been paying a substantial rent for the Cornhill, more than most small shops in Stroud pay, bearing in mind this is for one day out of seven. The council failed to mention that when saying the taxpayer is covering the costs of maintenance and cleaning. I am a Stroud man organising a Stroud market for Stroud people.
Stroud Farmers’ Market