Trader suspended from market over van argument

The trader suspended after an argument with the Ilkeston market manager over the decision to force stallholders to park their vehicles away from their pitches has hit out at the council for their handling of the situation.

Gordon Wren, has been selling wool and knitting supplies on the lower market for more than 45 years.

Last week he received a letter from Erewash Borough Council banning him from setting up his stall pending an investigation after an argument over where traders park up.

The letter stated that Mr Wren was in breach of rule 8.1 and was ‘verbally abusive’ to the on duty markets officer.

Mr Wren said: “I admit I was angry about being told to move the vans and I did have an argument with the market manager but it’s something I feel very strongly about and it was heat of the moment.

“We have always parked our vans at the back of our stalls, it might be in the rules that we shouldn’t but those rules have always existed and there’s always been an unofficial agreement about this end of the market.

“Why all of a sudden are the council enforcing this rule?”

Mr Wren, who employs eight staff, added: “If I wanted to sack or suspend a member of my staff I would have to issue verbal warnings, then written warnings and I could still be taken to a tribunal.

“I just got this letter out of the blue, no warning.”

The letter, sent by Steve Birkinshaw, head of planning and regeneration at Erewash Borough Council, states that Mr Wren will receive a letter with the outcome of the investigation by May 15.

Mr Wren said: “I have a lot of loyal customers and it’s them that I worry about.

“I’ve been told they have already asked where I am and have orders for some of them that I can’t take along.

“Having been there for so long people come up just to shop on my stall, I feel bad for the customers more than anything.”

The council admitted a trader had been suspended from the market and confirmed it was not due to a breach of the parking rule.