Traders in Cork’s historic English Market could face fines if their stall displays encroach on the aisles under proposed new bylaws.
City councillors have now agreed to the publication of the draft bylaws for a period of public consultation.
Once that process is completed, and if changes are needed, a report with revised bylaws will come back to councillors before they are rubber-stamped and enacted.
In a report to councillors, City Hall, which owns the market, said they were introducing the bylaws to ensure the orderly running and management of the market.
“At a time when visitor numbers to the market are increasing, it has become important to regulate this issue on a formal basis, and to provide market management with powers to manage the problem on a daily and immediate basis,” councillors were told.
Officials said the bylaws had been drawn up to ensure, in particular, there are no obstructions of the common areas which impact on the safety of all persons trading, visiting, and conducting business in the market.
“One of the ongoing issues in the English Market is the encroachment by traders onto the aisles or common areas of the English Market with displays, boxes, goods and other storage items,” the report said.
“This creates difficulties for circulation of customers and visitors, creates access issues for the visually impaired and the disabled, disrupts trade for compliant traders, and also restricts space for cleaning and maintenance.”
It was agreed between the city council, Aramark Property, the managing agents in the market, and the Traders’ Committee, that a formal process was required to resolve the various issues.
The report said the Traders’ Committee voiced concern that action was required, and that penalties were needed for non compliance.
It is proposed that market management will introduce the following procedures:
* Where a trader encroaches onto the aisle or common areas, they will be requested to cease immediately and to remove their products or display items;
* If a trader refuses to co-operate, market manager will be entitled to remove the goods and either place them within the offending trader’s lettable area, or if refused, remove the goods to storage and either destroy them (if perishable) or store them, and charge a fee for their release;
* Fines can also be levied on persistent offenders.
But City Hall said it plans to legitimise some instances where minor encroachment has taken place by some traders following a fire in the Princes Street side of the market, in the 1980s.
After this incident, smaller stalls were rebuilt prompting traders to use a small strip to the front of the new stalls as a display area, all permitted by the council.
There is enough circulation space in this area and the Traders’ Committee has agreed that the stalls here are not an issue, and contribute important colour and display to the overall market.
The council said it plans to formalise the extra space in these areas in return for a proportionate increase in rent and service charges.
It is expected that the draft bylaws will be published soon for consultation.
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