Council halts riverside market in licensing row
Council officials have stepped in to halt plans for a new riverside market in Bath.
The weekly Pulteney Weir Market had been due to stage its first event on Sunday, with organisers hoping to attract up to 50 stalls.
But Bath and North Somerset Council officials yesterday told organisers that it could not go ahead because they do not have the right licences.
There have also been concerns about the safety of the event.
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The market would have been run by the Bradford on Avon-based Canal Carrying Company, which put the idea to the test with a trial run in August, hand in hand with Riverside Leisure Management, the firm which now operates the moorings on that stretch of the River Avon.
A council statement said officials had met RLM directors Andrew Hemmings and Andrew Hayter to tell them the event could not go ahead.
It said: “We have met with the market organisers (Mr Hemmings and Mr Hayter) to explain that because they have not obtained the appropriate permissions from the council as landowner or licensing authority for street trading, the proposed market for this Sunday cannot go ahead. They must go through the formal consent process like any other commercial business or enterprise would.”
The statement added that Bath Rugby had not given permission for the event’s use of part of the land the club leases, and that the Recreation Ground trustees had not been consulted.
The market, between Pulteney and North Parade bridges, would have sold artisan food and drink, art, crafts, jewellery, knitwear, children’s clothing, soaps and candles.
The council’s river champion Councillor Dave Laming had visited the area with its cabinet member for neighbourhoods, Councillor David Dixon, earlier this week.
Mr Laming said: “I have for a long time been extremely concerned at the unsavoury situation building up on Pulteney Weir Wharf. It has been a great relief to have the support of Councillor Dixon.
“I am grateful for his swift intervention.”
He said mains electrical cables had now been removed from trees and safety guardrails and added: "Together, I firmly believe we have prevented what could have been a serious breach of public safety."
Market boss Alfie Windsor said this morning that the market project had been encouraged by the council at a meeting with what he called senior officers in May, and that they were seeking urgent talks to rescue the event.
“The idea of a market on the riverside is part of an ongoing project encouraged by the council to promote and improve the riverside’s potential for residents and tourists alike. Plans for a weekly market showcasing local products were first discussed with senior officers in May. A very successful trial was held on August 26 which attracted lots of favourable comments from traders, members of the public and other businesses along the river bank. Indeed there has been an overwhelming response from local food producers, artists and craftspeople supporting the market.”
He added: “We are seeking an urgent meeting with all those in the council involved to work with them to resolve the matter. A huge amount of effort has gone into planing this market, the market traders attending are all extremely enthusiastic about its potential, and local people received the trial market enthusiastically so we hope that we can find a way to resolve these last minute objections.”
Before the council’s intervention, he had said there would be boat trips, bike hire and buskers at the market.
“With boats moored alongside on the river, and Bath Abbey, Pulteney Weir and Pulteney Bridge as a scenic backdrop we think this could be the best position for a market in the whole country. It will be a great day out with something for the whole family and every taste.”
The Canal Carrying Company also operates the Coal Boat which sells solid fuel, gas, wood and diesel to boats and houses along the Kennet and Avon Canal, and the Bath Butty floating café.