Banbury Labour Party revealed today that Cherwell District Council is to move Charter Market stalls to the Cornhill end of Market Pace on Thursdays and Saturdays in order to release the Market square for parking.
Cherwell officers have been in negotiation with traders and the operators of Banbury’s Charter Market but not the general public, and local councillors have only just found out about it.
The Labour Party have spoken to Market traders who are so alarmed at this suggestion, some are threatening to pull out of Banbury market. They fear losing the lucrative footfall from the Tchure behind the Town Hall through to Castle Quay, as well as from shoppers who are regular bus users in the Cow Fair area in front of the Town Hall.
As the Labour Party understands it, consultation upon the proposals is almost complete and an application to allow parking again on Market days is to be submitted by CDC imminently, with a view to implementing this scheme as soon as possible.
Banbury Town Council set up a “task and finish group” to look at proposals for the market after hearing of these plans, and that group has now sent its views to CDC. However, these do not oppose the principle of relocation to Cornhill.
Councillor Steve Kilsby, Labour Group Leader on the Town Council said;
“I am horrified that the Tories at both Town and District level could sanction the adulteration of our market without consulting either opposition Councillors at any level or, far more worryingly, the local people who use the market. I am sure the public will share my concern, and wonder why there has been no effort made to tell them about this iniquitous move?
“Banbury’s market is the oldest institution in the town, and the original market charter dates back to the 12th Century. Are we to be remembered as the generation who allowed the market to decline and fall? Personally, I am prepared to fight for our market, and I urge other people in the town and those who use the market to join me in doing so.”
Councillor Sean Woodcock, Labour Group Leader on Cherwell District Council and Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate said,
“I think any downgrading of the market should have been only have been done after full consultation with the people of Banbury or at least through their elected representatives having a vote on the matter.
“The apparent lack of any democratic oversight is alarming and poses questions for what else the Tories on Cherwell have tried to get away with on the sly”