‘It is tough out there’ – that was the comment given by Brays Associate Market’s managing director for not renewing its licence for the Hothamton car boot.
Traders and organisers have voiced their shock at the decision which follows news the seafront market will also cease trading at the end of the month.
However, unlike the seafront site which is set to see a market return for 2018 and ‘cultural events’ in the meantime, Arun District Council has stated it has decided ‘not to re-procure the car boot market in this area as the site is ‘identified for future development as part of the town’s wider regeneration proposals’.
A spokesperson said: “The council would not want to create a future issue with consented use of land that could potentially impede progress.”
Ian Warnett, who has been involved with the car boot for more than ten years, said: “We have never been formally told that we are stopping.”
Brian Nunan, managing director of current licence holders Bray Associates, contests this.
He said: “As soon as we made a decision the lady who is running it was told.”
Mr Warnett added: “A lot of people have said they love it there because we are so nice, we have had some ask if there is anything they can do to help.”
Mr Warnett added that bids to take it over have been refused on the basis ‘we are not a company’. “The council are losing income as a result,” he said. “They are on about saving money, so why can’t they let us do it?”
Ivy Watson, who helps to run the car boot, wrote to the Observer to state she was hitting a ‘brick wall with Arun District Council who have quoted an exorbitant price of £9000 per year’ – a fee she said was ‘absolutely nonviable’. See the full letter on page 38.
A spokesperson for Arun District Council said: “This market was run via a granted licence. The current licence expires on the 31 March 2017 and the operator does not want to renew. The car boot sale has developed from its intended purpose and has incorporated other non- car boot stalls such as fruit and vegetable and produce stalls.”
Mr Nunan admitted ‘it is exactly the same scenario’ as with the market, he said: “It is a shame as it is a small group of tightknit traders but it isn’t feasible.
“It was another flag in the map and they are nice people but finance has to dictate.”
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