MARKET SHOWDOWN: Town councillors pay �185 for skip to clear market after rejecting offer by Standard Editor for ‘man and van’

AN offer by the Wisbech Standard to hire a ‘man and van’ to clear Wisbech market place was dramatically not needed as three councillors authorised the late hire of a skip.

Editor John Elworthy walked round the market on Saturday and- as the rubbish built up and with no arrangements in hand for its removal- offered to pay for it to be cleared away. However his offer was rebuffed after councillors came up with a temporary – but at �185 not necessarily a cheap- respite by arranging for the skip. It came as the row simmered over who was responsible for clearing trade waste from the twice weekly markets.

Town clerk Erbie Murat had insisted that following the market’s acquisition by Wisbech Town Council from Fenland Council that traders must pay but angry stall holders insisted their rent included payment for rubbish to be removed. Mr Murat had contacted traders by letter last week giving them only a couple of days notice that it would now be up to them to remove their own rubbish.

At 2pm on Saturday – and with her day’s empty boxes piling up besides her stall- fruit and veg trader Jackie Hammond confronted three councillors who were on a fact finding tour.

Councillors Samantha Hoy, Steve Tierney and Jonathan Farmer acknowledged there was confusion over who should pay to clear the market and after finding many other angry traders went off for an impromptu meeting.

Fifteen minutes later they were back, having spoken to council leader David Oliver, who supported their hire of a skip whilst urgent talks could be held after the weekend to find a permanent solution.

It is expected that a group of councillors and traders will be set up to help run and develop the market although what, if any, role the town clerk will play is yet unclear.

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Mrs Hammond said was clear that “in my contract it says put all in the rubbish in the receptacle provided. That’s what we’ve always done and the rubbish has always been removed.”

Another trader, Lee Martin, said today he was “very glad to hear that things are being sorted”. He said he would happily sit on a group to run the market with the council.

Meanwhile Councillor Dave Patrick who highlighted the issue said he, too, would be happy to serve on the new working party.

“I am sure that one of us opposition members would be more than willing,” he said.

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