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Traders’ fears over seven-day market rule

17 March, 2017 — By William McLennan

TRADERS at Camden Market have said that rules forcing them to open seven days a week will force out smaller, independent businesses.

Management at the market sent a strongly-worded letter last week that said stallholders must open between 10am to 6pm every day “with no exception”.

The letter said: “If you are unable to trade on any day for the agreed hours, you must let the Market Management Team know in advance to avoid any penalties.”

One trader, who has sold antiques at the market for more than two decades, said the new rules were unworkable. They said: “We were totally gobsmacked. I always have run it as a one-man show. Unless you can afford to pay somebody for two days a week you will have to work seven days. When will I find time to replace the stuff I’ve sold, because you won’t have time to go to the other markets.”

He said that it felt like craft stalls were being forced out, adding: “It was a collectors and antiques market, that’s why people have been coming here for the last 30 years. But there is very little of that now.”

Camden Market’s communications firm did not provide an answer to the traders’ concerns that indepen­dent traders selling craft goods, rather than food and drink, are being pushed out.

A spokesman said of the opening hours: “Camden Market is open seven days a week, from 10am to 6pm, and it is in both visitors’ and traders’ best interests that these regular hours are kept. This requirement applies to traders in fixed units on a lease of 12 months or more, and in this case we have asked that our market managers are given reasonable notice should they be unable to open, so they may plan accordingly. Stallhold­ers who do not open during the requested hours will not be penal­ised, but may not get their preferred pitch.”

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