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Medieval charter threatens new Stafford craft market

By Staf Newsletter  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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DEFIANT crafters have promised to fight Stafford Borough Council after officials threatened to close a new market they claimed was in contravention of a medieval town charter.

Organisers of the Stafford Craft and Vintage Market were shocked when council officers contacted them to voice their concerns the day before opening in the town’s Oddfellows Hall.

Co-organiser James Affleck said: “I was just completely taken aback. To leave it until the last minute like that was a little bit below the belt.” But council officers deny thre are plans to close the market - although they admit they will monitor it.

Mr Affleck said after being quizzed about the nature of the craft market, the council officer told him about the medieval law which states that no market can be set up within 6.2 miles of Stafford Indoor Market.

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“After I put the phone down, I just felt really angry that somebody from the council would phone up and try to put me off like that when I’m trying to earn myself a living and keep myself from benefits,” he said. “I was surprised, but I’m confident we will carry on and stand our ground and any trouble they try to give to us, we will fight them.”

Stallholder Sharron Rayner said when she was first told about the threat to close the market she thought it was a joke.

“I thought it was an idiotic idea,” she said. “We don’t sell fruit and veg, there’s nothing that’s sinister about it, we’re not taking anyone’s jobs away.” Another stallholder Neil Harrison said he thought closing down the market would be “short-sighted and petty”.

“We are trying to generate interest into Stafford and not just provide income for ourselves, but for the local economy,” he said.

A council spokesman said someone had been along to inspect the market and no action would be taken at this time.

"It's been blown out of proportion," he said. "We are going to continue to review it, but there is no intention to close it down at this time."

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  • Staf Newsletter  |  September 07 2012, 8:43AM

    If that is the case what about the market in the square outside the guild hall? The Council are generaly trying there best to close the market, and make it as difficuilt for them to survive as possible. Why can't the 'farmers market' take place within the indoor market and encourage people to use it rather than take bussiness away from it.

  • Staf Newsletter  |  September 07 2012, 7:15AM

    What an utterly ridiculous and outrageous law. In times like these, money needs to be put back into the local economy and small enterprises need to be supported without outdated medieval laws being pulled out of the council archives. The council should be ashamed of themselves!