Now town clerk threatens to sue for defamation the market trader who accused him of not understanding their business
A TOWN clerk today threatened to sue fruit and veg stallholder Lee Martin who had accused him of having “no knowledge of market traders” and of not understanding the fundamentals of the business.
Erbie Murat, embroiled in a major dispute over who should pay to remove waste from Wisbech Market, told Mr Martin he considered his remarks “I am afraid, to be defamatory and I am taking separate legal advice. I will be writing to you separately”.
Mr Murat said his credentials were impeccable and told Mr Martin his previous experience included working at the East of England showground at Peterborough.
He also cited “my responsibilities as a member of and chairman of resources committee in Peterborough with specific responsibility for the market amongst other things.”
While town councillors sought to distance themselves from their clerk by promoting the idea of a joint market traders and council committee to take things forward, Mr Murat remained unapologetic about what he has said and written so far.
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He said his letter to traders last week reminding them of their responsibility to collect their own waste enclosed a copy of market regulations which made this clear.
The clerk said he thought what had happened was that traders had previously had an informal arrangement with Fenland Council to put their trade waste into their wagon.
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“This service by FDC has now stopped,” said Mr Murat. “That is a matter you must take up with Fenland. My understanding is that the operatives have also been told to stop providing this free trade waste disposal facility to other businesses in the town.”
Although Wisbech Town Council has called an emergency meeting next Tuesday to consider setting up a new committee to run the market – which will exclude the town clerk- Mr Murat also has a second item for the agenda. He wants councillors to consider making an offer to Fenland Council to buy Wisbech Park.
Mr Murat, in his letter to Mr Martin which he circulated to councillors, also rejected claims electric boxes on the market were not properly maintained. He also said Mr Martin was using a bigger stall than he paid for and had set up two gazebos without permission.
He also said Mr Martin’s sale of tofu was not part of his licence since “the terms are specifically for fresh fruit and vegetables.”
He told Mr Martin there were “anomalies” with his trading arrangements and that Wisbech Town Council “will also be ensuring that there are no further discrepancies between licences and market regulations before I will countersign any licences.”