Petticoat Lane hit by market protesters’ fury over regulations clamp-down

PUBLISHED: 13:33 04 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:33 04 February 2015

Market traders meet with council represestatives at the protest

Market traders meet with council represestatives at the protest


Street markets were almost at a standstill across London’s East End including the famous Petticoat Lane when 200 stallholders converged on the Town Hall to protest at enforcement officers brought in who they claim are abusing their powers.

Market traders protest at the town hallMarket traders protest at the town hall

They turned up with banners on Monday protesting at Tower Hamlets Council making market inspectors redundant and replacing them with tough regulation enforcers.

“They drive everyone mad,” Petticoat Lane textile merchant Imran Qadir told the East London Advertiser.

“The enforcement officers think they’re the police and have too much power.

“All they do is issue fines for minor infringements which is driving trade away.

“One stall-holder was fined £100 because he put his cup of tea down on the pavement while serving a customer.”

The traders cite other examples where enforcement officers make stall-holders keep to their registered pitch or be fined—rather than let them fill vacant gaps and put stalls close together to keep the market atmosphere going.

“The rules were made 100 years ago,” Imran added. “Trade was different then—the council should adapt and stop penalising market traders.”

The stallholders handed in a petition claiming they had “sustained injustice by mal-administration”, accusing the authority of unfair redundancies and replacing the market inspectors with “blunt and aggressive enforcement officers who are not capable of managing the markets smoothly”.

Their petition added: “The enforcement officers come with penalising and punitive motives against the traders which is not humane and accumulates discontent, creating a serious clog on the administrative efficiency.”

The angry traders are calling for their market inspectors to be reinstated, but the council refused to discuss “employment matters” with them.

The head of markets, Trevor Kennett, sent them a text saying: “We are trying to resolve disciplinary matters with enforcement officers.

“We have a duty to work with officers affected while protecting the interests of the authority.”

The Town Hall was “aware of the concerns by market traders”, a spokesman said today. It offered to meet their representatives to address these issues.

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