Furious traders forced to pack up

FURIOUS Morpeth market traders have hit out at council bosses after being forced to pack up their stalls.

Traders arrived at the Market Place as normal on Wednesday and due to high winds decided to use their vans to anchor stalls.

However, Northumberland County Council officials told them that vehicles were no longer allowed in the area and the market would have to be cancelled.

But within three hours they changed their minds and said the event would be allowed to go ahead.

By then half the traders had left and the rest were left managing with tables.

Stallholder Jimmy Bell said: “We all arrived with fresh produce to sell and some of us decided just to carry on without putting the stalls up, before they then turned round and said the market was back on.

“You are allowed to put vans on the market at Ashington, Blyth and Hexham, but not at Morpeth. This was decided a few months ago without any consultation with the Markets Partnership at all, but this is the first time there has been a problem and we needed the vans.

“I can understand why they don’t want vans on and I agree with it, but we only need to have them there for a few days a year when it’s windy. It just needs a bit of common sense.”

A council spokeswoman said: “It is sometimes difficult to make a decision on whether to run a market or not during high winds and we don’t take these decisions lightly.

“We prefer not to have vans on the market area for a number of reasons and have received complaints about the presence of vans, but we are reviewing this at present and will, of course, take traders’ views fully into account.”