Waste row hits Wisbech traders as they accuse town clerk of showing ‘no compassion” and ‘no knowledge of markets”
ANGRY traders on Wisbech market protested today after being told by town clerk Erbie Murat that they must remove their own trade waste.
“It has come to my attention that stallholders are expecting their trade rubbish/waste to be cleared by the operative contracted by Wisbech Town Council to clean the Market Place,” he told them.
“I am afraid this is not the case. Clearance of trade waste is not possible and it is up to each stallholder to organise the clearance of their own rubbish from the site each day.”
But Lee Martin, a fruit and veg trader from Hilgay and traders’ representative, accused Mr Murat of having “no knowledge of market traders, and he doesn’t understand the fundamentals of market trading.”
Mr Martin has written to town councillors warning that unless changes are made- and quickly- traders could quit.
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“We feel that Mr Murat’s dictat cannot be implemented and with immediate effect for several reasons,” said Mr Martin.
“We were given no prior notice and it is illegal to move waste without a licence.”
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He said Fenland Council- who have sold the market place to Wisbech Town Council- provided waste clearance as part of the rent.
Mr Murat says that’s not true and that “they were the ones who signed up to the contract with Fenland Council and all we have done is to lift those rules and regulations and put Wisbech Town Council on the top of the agreement.
“It’s very straightforward- there are no changes to rules and regulations.”
However Councillor Dave Patrick called for “an immediate and prompt inquiry. I am very surprised the town council has not continued to collect trade waste as before.
“As a councillor I knew nothing of changes to waste but clearly something is wrong.”
Councillor Sam Hoy said traders could discuss their grievances with the town council but she agreed councillors had not debated trade waste.
Mr Martin says Mr Murat “is very unfair and could be giving the wrong voice to the town councillors”.
He added that Wisbech charged the highest rent of any market in the area and other issues – such as the town council refusing to repair electric boxes and refusing to allow traders to have vehicles next to their stalls- made a threatened boycott more likely.
“We’re all absolutely miffed by what Erbie is doing,” he said. “He has shown no compassion whatsoever.”
Mr Murat has forwarded a copy of the traders’ regulations which, he says, makes it clear of the responsibility of each stall holder to remove their own waste.