An historic ‘anti-competition’ custom at Doncaster Markets has been swept away in the hope of boosting trade in the town.
Doncaster Council is to now allow some rival businesses to set up shop close to existing stalls in a move which it hopes will create 30 new jobs.
The move comes following a review of an informal practice which prevented new traders from taking space close to existing ones selling similar items.
But Nigel Berry, vice president of the Doncaster branch of the Market Traders’ Federation, said he was concerned the change would cause problems for traders.
The 54-year-old fishmonger said: “I cannot see how it will do any good having someone open up a new business next to an existing business selling exactly the same thing. It will just halve the trade for them both.”
However, coun Bob Johnson, cabinet member for regeneration and growth, was confident the move will boost trade.
He said: “A review of this situation has been long overdue.
“The old restrictive practice has become increasingly frustrating both for the council, which has to run its markets on a business footing, and to traders wanting to take a stall on Britain’s favourite market.
However, the new commodities guidelines some restrictions remain. For example the Food Hall will still only allow food retailers – but anyone wanting space in the markets should now be accommodated wherever possible.
Markets bosses have estimated that even if the new approach only allows an additional 20 businesses, which would have previously been turned away, it could mean as much as an extra £70,000 income per year for the markets.
Coun Johnson added: “Existing traders will benefit too. While more competition may initially be seen as another challenge, a market with no empty stalls will inevitably be a busier market, boosting trade for all.”
“We have given this matter careful consideration and made a decision on what is best for all who have an interest in our markets.
“This is all about creating greater choice for shoppers and new jobs for local people.”
Market stalls are available for as little as £10 on some days. For more visit www.doncaster.gov.uk/markets