Market traders defiant in row with Lord

DEFIANT traders vowed yesterday to stand their ground as the ongoing dispute over ancient rights controlling their market escalated.Although it was business as usual for the weekly stallholders of Thaxted market, who have been trading on the site since it began 17 years ago, officially it was their last day.

DEFIANT traders vowed yesterday to stand their ground as the ongoing dispute over ancient rights controlling their market escalated.

Although it was business as usual for the weekly stallholders of Thaxted market, who have been trading on the site since it began 17 years ago, officially it was their last day.

They have been told by letter by the Lord of the Manor of Thaxted, John Perry, that owing to a series of disputes over fees and other issues, the market was ending. He is considering opening an alternative market.

Mr Perry said his right to close the market is enshrined by his title which he bought more than five years ago. These rights have been confirmed by Uttlesford District Council.


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Richard Groom, who runs the fruit and vegetable stall, vowed traders would ignore Mr Perry's threats and he said he was determined to stand his ground.

He said: “The market is the heart of the community and you won't find anyone that backs closing it. We are going to keep coming. ”

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He has now appealed for further investigations into the ancient rights.

Pat Crowder, whose home virtually overlooks the site, said she was “shocked and surprised” by the news that this was the market's last official week.

She expressed concern for elderly citizens who rely on the market's produce and explained how she would still be forced to use Mr Perry's new market for convenience, but felt she would be betraying original stallholders. She said: “You get to know the traders.”

Affects of the dispute have not only shaken customers and traders. Adrian Lowe, who owns a family-run store in the Thaxted, said: “It was a shame it is going to happen.”

His shop is situated in front of the market and benefits from their customers.

Thaxted parish councillor, Eileen Walsh, also voiced her concerns as to how the “ancient right” of Mr Perry had managed to succeed. She said the parish council had been trying to investigate this for some time but had failed.

Four weeks ago stallholders decided to withhold their payments, angered that the money was not being put into the community. Mr Perry had been paying a small charge to the parish council but, since claiming his title in 2001, stopped paying. The rift deepened when Mr Perry warned traders they could face a legal injunction if they did not leave.

After buying his title more than five years ago, the Dunmow-based Lord has said he is well within his legal rights to close the current market. He is considering opening an alternative market from Friday October 20.

He has said he feels the traders have been uncooperative even though he has received confirmation of his rights from Uttlesford District Council.

In a letter to market traders he said: “As my right as Lord of the Manor of Thaxted, I am giving you notice of termination of the market pitch you trade from in Town Street, Thaxted, Essex, your last day to stand on my market is 6 October 2006.

“The reason for me serving you this termination is due to your refusal for rent repayment.”

Earlier this week, the East Anglian Daily Times attempted to contact Mr Perry, but he was unavailable for comment.

But he has been backed by Uttlesford District Council. A spokesman said: “He does have these ancient rights to control the market in the town and he can charge a toll to the traders.”

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