Traders blame the CCTV smart car for the failure of Upminster Farmers’ Market

The organisers of the Upminster Farmers’ Market have hit out against the CCTV smart car after it was revealed that the market is set to close after six years.

Mike Allen, the general manager of the Essex Farmers’ Market, who run the monthly market in Station Road said that the council’s CCTV cars have played a major part in the decline of the market.

He said: “It’s a shame, we tried our hardest to make it work but things got worse and worse.

“The CCTV smarts cars didn’t help because the traders and our customers would get parking tickets and the council refused to make any allowances for us, in the end that puts people off.”

The Essex Farmers’ Market first opened in Upminster in 2006 after a request from the council, but over the years he says that the traders have received less support.

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Traders and customers have been targeted by the CCTV smart car while unpacking and loading their cars.

He said that many of the traders have been forced to enter into lengthy battles with the council to get the parking tickets revoked.

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The traders have also been prevented by the council from putting up banners advertising the market.

As a result of this, Mike says that the number of traders at the market has fallen from 35 to just seven.

He said: “I am gutted because people love the market, but it has come to the stage where it is no longer viable to carry on.

“It’s not just us, but it has been bad for the traders who have been given parking tickets and it has got to the point where it is not worth them coming.”

The last market is set to take place on Sunday December 16.

The Essex Farmers’ Market also run a market in Brentwood and he said that they are looking at setting up another market in London.

Upminster Cllr Ron Ower (Residents’ Association) said that more needed to be done to stop the smart car unfairly targeting traders in the area.

He said: “It’s sad because when the market first opened there used to be crowds of people.

“I think the council is being very foolish, the CCTV cars have done us no favours.

“The traders are not going to bother coming to Upminster when their takings are going to be cut because they have to pay a parking ticket.”

Cllr Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Community Empowerment, said: “We are sorry to hear about the market’s decision. We have done all we can to keep them in Upminster, this includes changing the day they operate and support with advertising and promotion. We are disappointed with their decision but we will make attempts to look for an alternative specialist market for Upminster as soon as we can.”

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