Market man claims stall holders ‘not welcome’

The continental market has returned this year, but will not be back following a dispute with the SIC roads department.
The continental market, shown during a previous visit, has returned this year, but will not be back following a dispute with the SIC roads department.

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.


Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • June 17th, 2014 13:32

    I cannot see why the Continental Market cannot setup its stalls, where there would be plenty of room, on the part of the pier just across the road from the Thule, just as it was during the Tall Ships Race 2011. Not only would it be more central, but more traders could occupy the space, but there would not be any issue with restricting parking. The only downside to it would be if the Lerwick Port Authority was asking too much for rent or the lease of that part of the pier.

  • Stanley Manson

    • June 17th, 2014 15:30

    For gooness sakes it’s only for a fortnight! I have not heard anyone complain about them rather the opposite. They are bringing cheer into a dead end street. Give them a break and welcome them back. Why do our officials have to get so b… official!

  • Stanley Manson

    • June 17th, 2014 15:40

    Also Historic Scotland from the Fort has been blocking a parking space for months and now taking up three parking spaces this week! Has the roads department said anything to them?

  • Leslie Butler

    • June 17th, 2014 19:25

    I’ve enjoyed their visits in the past and was looking forward to seeing them again. They sell little that competes directly with small local traders, and benefit Street businesses by giving folk an extra reason to come in o’er. They liven Lerwick up and should be encouraged.

  • Samuel Stevenson

    • June 18th, 2014 4:59

    We went to town on Sunday when all other shops were closed and bought plants and food. We are lucky that these folk are willing to come to Shetland and they should be encourage to come more often. They are an asset to what is normally a depressing experience going into town on a weekend. Shetland retailers take note there are folk who have more appetite to make the town centre a better place to be at a time when most people have the time and the inclination to shop. We want more chances to experience normal life.

  • Neil Anderson

    • June 18th, 2014 6:23

    Typical Shetland council !!!!!

  • Emily henry

    • June 18th, 2014 12:12

    This is ridiculous! So many people love the market stalls! It really brings that something extra to the street. Why does the council always have to destroy the nice things for us!? I think matters like this should be decided by the public instead of a bunch of grumpy old sods hell bent on ruining the good things in life!

  • ian tinkler

    • June 18th, 2014 16:39

    What a shame, jobsworth mentality or protecting the poor shopping services offered in the street. Holiday centre that has its shops shuts on Sundays and bank holidays. Now we have lost the market, how very typical!!

  • Chris Mackie

    • June 18th, 2014 21:54

    The Council has provided them with prime town centre space at the expense of parking, and they have spread beyond this on previous occasions. The space at Harrison Square is great for the plants. They’ve also been offered other locations. Does the Council do as much for local traders? If they want to go off in a huff, ‘peety aboot dem’. I suspect the real reason is the lack of custom for the same old tat, hothoused plants that keel over and tired food. Locals try it once but don’t come back.

  • paul barlow

    • June 18th, 2014 22:59

    typical. why not for once go with what the people of Shetland want. For pity sake if towns can shut off there main streets for Christmas fairs we can cope with a couple of dozen for a week or two. Stop micro managing our live be an enabling council.

  • Andy Hayes

    • June 19th, 2014 12:54

    One thing that I did notice was that the street was buzzing with people for a change. The street traders must have benefitted from the footfall too surely?

    If the market stalls don’t return it will be one less reason to visit the street, not just for me, but for many others judging by the crowds when the stalls were here.

    I enjoyed the salami and the baklava. It certainly makes a change from mince, neeps and tatties.

  • Sandy McMillan

    • June 20th, 2014 0:29

    WHY, WHY, WHY, Is it when some one comes to Shetland to sell there wears, or for what ever reason, This Council comes down on then like a ton of bricks, and to get them of the Isle as quickly as possible, It is alright for them they have the our money to spend, I think they forget it is our money they are spending, Why for once cant they ask the Public, those that are living on the bread line what they want, before taking some of these stupid decisions they make, The people of Shetland have the right to know.

  • John Wood

    • June 23rd, 2014 9:19

    It really smacks of the pathetic and pretty typical of the council

  • laurence niven

    • June 23rd, 2014 15:32

    on this market day i was in lerwick toll clock centre and decided to treat myself to an unbeatabe fish supper from the fort cafe. as usual i lazily tried to get my car as near to the chippy as possible but was thwarted by a row of international street traders and was forced to the victoria pier car park . 50p gave me an hour central parking (about the price of i cigarette in todays money) since i was now in the town centre i decided to walk along da street for my chippy treat. visit to the shetland tmes shop and boughtt 2 paperbacks, into conochies for a paper and bought 2 cards i usually would have sent to moonpig for, entered 2 charity shops and spent £10 because i wanted to support them ,visited a jewellry shop without buying, but noted some itms for future purchase and ended up in harrys for some things i would have got on amazon. finally i arrived at a fort chippy for the ever excellent supper which i ate as i happily browsed the stalls which had stolen my parking place. i made a few small purchases from these stalls and found the stallholders cheerfull helpfull and a pleasure to talk to.

    had this market not taken place i would not havebeen on the street and the only losers are moonpig and amazon. this type of event should be encouraged ,anything bringing people to the town centre can only benefit other businesses and the loss of a few parking spaces is not a disaster.

    a previous comment mentioned port authority land as a venue, brilliant idea , if we can do tall ships at at alex wharf why not a few stalls for a few weeks


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