Market man claims stall holders ‘not welcome’
A continental market will not be returning to Lerwick this year following a dispute with the council’s roads department over its size.
The visiting market opened last Monday, on land near the Fort Chip Shop and is the third time it has come to Shetland. Today is its last day of trading.
But after experiencing issues with the council department Ali Yaich a shareholder of Continental Markets Ltd, said, “it seems like we are not welcome”.
Mr Yaich said 18 traders were supposed to be coming to the town, but they had to cancel seven traders at short notice.
This, he said, was after being told days before they were due to arrive that they were not to have the market on Commercial Street. Instead traders were asked if they would set up their stalls near Shetland Library instead.
After discussions, stall holders have been allowed to stay on the stretch of road, but they had to have a smaller market, said Mr Yaich.
A plant seller has been moved to Harrison Square and Mr Yaich said the trader did not get his email or calls about the changes.
Mr Yaich said he was only told on Friday that there was a need for parking space on Commercial Street, but he feels there is plenty of free parking in Lerwick.
He added the lack of traders had had “a big, big impact” in the market’s trade, traders had been let down and they did not trust his company as a result of the problems.
However, Maggie Sandison, director of infrastructure services at the SIC, said each time the market has come up, it has exceeded the amount of space granted by the council. There had also been concerns about it taking up parking space and that impacting on the trade of local businesses.
A road closure application had to be agreed in order to hold the market on the particular stretch of Commercial Street, and during this concerns were raised about it using up parking space, she said.
She said there had been discussions about using space at Lower Hillhead near the library, but this could not be agreed upon and instead it was agreed to allow a specified area on Commercial Street.
However she said that on Friday the market exceeded the space allowed, and with parking space being tight at the weekend, the plant seller was given the alternative of using Harrison Square.
She said she understood it took a lot for the traders to come to Shetland but added: “When they’re granted a piece of land to use they should stick to the area they have been granted.”
Mr Yaich said nobody had told them before about exceeding the space allowed.
He said they would not come back this year but would have discussions with the council about returning in future, however it would have to be in a spot that would make the visit worthwhile.