Councillors have blamed local car boot sales for the decline of markets around East Lindsey District Council.
Members of the authority’s Overview Committee were given an update on a series of draft recommendations made by the Markets Scrutiny Panel, which included the creation of a five-year plan and further enforcement of regulations.
Councillor Ros Jackson told councillors: “Markets are very important, not only as economic benefits and social benefits but they’re also one of our most visible services.”
She praised Mablethorpe Town Council as “one of those markets that’s demonstrably doing so well.”
However, Sutton on Sea North ward member and Mablethorpe town councillor, Mayor Stephen Palmer, asked for more enforcement to focus on car boot sales taking place in the area without permission.
He said they had been raised on a number of occasions but ELDC enforcement had said it was not in the public interest to pursue and that to try and stop it would cost too much.
Councillor Alan Vasser said: “Markets are up against car boots. They detract so much from markets that its a no-brainer for the council to say ‘no you can’t trade fruit and veg’. That will then drive them into market towns.”
Following the meeting Councillor Palmer said: “Car boot sales are allowed to run a certain number in a year but we’ve found they exceed that.
“It has the effect of diluting the impact of the chartered market, which is run in the town centre.
“It just takes away custom and is competition, which is fair enough for the original use of a car boot sale but they’re currently being used as an alternative market.”
Councillor Jackson said the evidence backed up what others were saying, adding: “Something that’s happened in East Lindsey recently and it corresponds with the recent drop in revenue from our markets is that they have stopped enforcement on that clause.
“It’s something that unfortunately is quite difficult to tease out exactly what’s cause and effect […] but there are things that could be done and looking at how car boots are run locally is one thing they could look further into.”
Councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said one in Stickney has previously caused consternation for Boston Borough Council.
She pointed to the low cost of stalls.
Acting joint chief executive Allison Penn said many car boots were acting with permission. She acknowledged the problems caused, but said organisers often knew the rules.
In the ELDC charter a car boot sale cannot run on the same day as the local market.
Councillor Palmer also raised an issue with Lincolnshire County Council’s road closure costs, without which he said, would see Mablethorpe making a profit.
Jill Makinson-Sanders called for more signage advertising what the district’s market towns had to offer.
Louth Independent Traders as part of the report, told councillors that a fifth of businesses in the town centre could fail if the market was to cease. Market stall holders there believe more needs to be done.