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Traders' frustration over St Albans Market's 'catalogue of errors'
St Albans Market has been left in "chaos" due to a catalogue of errors, which has forced traders to set up make shift stalls to sell their goods.
St Peter’s Street market stall traders were left without blue and yellow tops and some reported being forced to set up their stalls themselves using gazebos and planks of wood.
The "catalogue of errors" occurred on the usual trading days of Wednesday, September 25 and Saturday, September 28. Eric Roberts, from the civic society, said: "It was chaos here on Wednesday and Saturday.
"It is really worrying because the market stalls bring people to St Albans. It is so important to us, as a retail spot and attraction to St Albans.
"I have got to know quite a few of the market stall holders and they often share their concerns.
"We don’t want them to be messed about. We should be protecting our market stall traders."
One stall holder, who has been trading at the market for 12 years, said he arrived on Saturday to find he didn’t have his usual trading spot and had to go elsewhere.
The trader, who asked not to be named, said: "You usually have to inform the council if you are not coming to trade before half eight on Saturday morning.
"We got here at half seven and our usual spot had been allocated to someone else.
"What’s most frustrating is that we pay the £75 bill to have this spot and have our stall set up, whereas someone will come along in the morning and pay £15 because they are setting the stall up themselves.
"People know us for our usual spot, so it’s frustrating.
"This is one of the best markets’ in the country to work in and we just want it to be looked after."
Another market trader added: "It is a constant catalogue of errors.
"We got here on Wednesday and didn’t have a blue and yellow top. It is lucky the weather was kind.
"We were one of the lucky ones, because some traders didn’t even have a stall to sell from and were setting up make shifts with gazebos and planks of wood.
The market stalls are set up by contractors on behalf of St Albans District Council.
Richard Shwe, head of community services at the district council, said they be engaging with stall holders as part of a full review of the markets across the city.
Mr Shwe said: "We are also talking to the market stall erectors about the future plans, which involve a review of pay arrangements.
"The council is aware that there has been some disruption to the usual smooth operation of setting up and dismantling of the market.
"This should not have happened and for this we apologise. We are talking to the market stall erectors to set out clearly our expectations and we are also putting in place contingency arrangements with our contractors."
Lisa Bates, executive director from St Albans Chamber of Commerce, said she hope this would not be a reoccurring problem.
She said: "Our market is a huge draw for visitors to our city and something as a St Albans resident I am always proudly promoting.
"I am surprised to hear there have been problems with the setting up stalls and the allocation of usual spots which is not good given that we are creatures of habit and like to find things in their usual place.
"St Albans Council are addressing the recent issues so hopefully this will not be a reoccurring problem, our market only exists because the traders keep turning up we need to support them as much as possible if we are to keep them.
"Independent traders make our city diverse and interesting to shoppers and I am sure the council will act sensibly and quickly to avoid any further disruption."
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