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Crunch time for ousted fruit and veg sellers

Larry Neild on how the new council appear to have listened to the people – but the Christians ain't quite back on Bold St yet. Any objections?

Published on June 23rd 2010.


Crunch time for ousted fruit and veg sellers

FRIDAY will be a crunch day for the Christian family and their Bold Street fruit and veg pitch. The enforced removal of their popular stall outraged thousands of faithful customers.

According to the Lyons’ report, ‘information was received on April 8 that there was a trader in Ropewalks Square’. Hmm, I’d love to know where this information came from, but the fact is the report won’t reveal sources....

It is hard to contemplate that the newly reconstituted Street Trading Committee, now run by the Labour administration, will turn its back on this local enterprise – especially as we are half-way through our special year of health and wellbeing.

The problem for the fruit-selling family is they won’t be able to set up stall until September at the earliest because of the legal processes to officially designate the area for street trading.

Labour’s Joe Hanson is now chair of the committee with the application from the Christian’s the very first item under consideration for the first meeting of the committee since Labour swept to power at the Town Hall in May.

It’s great that Leader Joe Anderson and the new administration have now brought the plight of these traditional traders to the committee.

But even the two Joes, Anderson and Hanson, – can’t do anything more to speed up the process to enable the Christians to trade during the summer months.

Licensing officer Jim Lyons has outlined in a report to the committee the hurdles facing the process – and that’s assuming there are no major obstacles or objections along the way. Of course the committee has the right to refuse the application altogether, though they couldn’t do that. Could they?

The pitch battleground for the application is known as Ropewalks Square – that narrow patch of land between Bold Street and Wood Street, essentially the ‘garden path’ for FACT.Trader John Collins and the Christians had been selling fruit and veg in the square since 2002, eventually erecting a lean-to building. Admittedly it was a bit of an eyesore, but it supplied cheap fresh fruit and veg to the masses in a city where people don’t eat enough fresh fruit and veg.

Unfortunately for the family they traded on the pitch on what was temporary planning permission, expiring as long ago as 2004, according to the report by Jim Lyons.

Once the temporary period had passed they were supposed to pack their bags and leave, but instead a lengthy dispute followed between the landlord, Philip Glennon, and the council.

This was only resolved in recent months, leading to the fruit seller quitting, followed by the immediate removal of the lean-to.

After the removal of the structure the family moved onto the site, believing they could sell their produce from a traditional stall after being told that was the case by the council. But street trading on the site is currently illegal – and, according to the Lyons’ report, ‘information was received on April 8 that there was a trader in Ropewalks Square’.

Hmm, I’d love to know where this information came from but the fact is the report won’t reveal sources....

The family was warned about illegal trading and told there was a risk of prosecution. To be fair to them, the report acknowledges that once the illegal nature of their continued trade had been pointed out they left and never returned.

The chances are the legal processes will now start, subject to agreement by the committee on Friday, hopefully leading to the re-opening of a 30 square metre stall in Ropewalks Square.

However, as Jim Lyons points out, there has to be a series of legal notices in the local paper to enable the public to comment or object.

Luckily the Christians have loads of letters from customers, local residents and local businesses who want to see their return. Stories and updates that we have posted on the saga, here on Liverpool Confidential , have received many thousands of reads.

Unfortunately the council’s hands are tied by Act of Parliament which lays down the timescales for consultation. But at least in the autumn, one of Liverpool’s best known ‘barrow boy’ families SHOULD be back in business.

*The meeting, open to the public, takes place at 11am on Friday at Millennium House in Victoria Street.

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Stubby KayeJune 22nd 2010.

Sit down you're rocking the boat!

AnonymousJune 22nd 2010.

There seems to be some subliminal admonishments here against those possibly involved in the exit of the fuit stall. As that old legal maxim goes, let the facts speak for themselves, if you get the drift.

Ear to the groundJune 22nd 2010.

Well done to Liverpool Confidential for consistently highlighting the plight of this family until the new council took notice and quite rightly acted to bring them back. I hope they see you all right for strawberries come September (the fruit sellers, not the council!)

AnonymousJune 22nd 2010.

I still blame Tesco! Brilliant grafitti. Spot on.

Mr ClackJune 22nd 2010.

I think you have some of your facts wrong on this Harry. Yes it’s true that Mr Christian started the mutiny and cast Captain Bligh adrift in an open shopping trolley. But he managed to safely navigate himself through 5,000 Tesco stores travelling over three miles. And earned himself huge Clubcard points. Of course Tesco don’t stock the breadfruit but they do have strawberries. And I think that’s where Larry has got mixed up. It was strawberries that started the fight with Captain Queeg, leading to the Cains Brewery Mutiny. All something to do with the Campaign For Real Kale. I think. Now while Captain Bligh counted the coconuts and Captain Queeg counted the strawberries, what nobody seemed to count, is the outrage at denying these people the right to make an honest living, providing a genuine and popular service that retained colour and choice to the increasingly homogenous any-town city centre. As for the suggestion that stray coconut hairs kept clogging up the projector at FACT, who is to say these were not from Warren Bradley’s head?

IveGotALovelyBunchOfCocoNutsJune 22nd 2010.

I hope that the Council see that the people of this city are sick of seeing things like this happen. Our city has been taken away from us in the past and sold its soul to the retail giants.Liverpool One serves a purpose, but to balance that out we need the diversity of the Bold Street area. Smaller independent retailers which include Christians! Look at their books and see, if they were not successful and being used then they wouldn't be fighting for the pitch back! The people of Liverpool want them BACK,,,,if you didn't a fruit stall in the middle of your new fancy development then you shouldn't have built your development around a fruit stall...and that's a FACT!

WappingJune 22nd 2010.

Anonymous legal type, the facts are often gagged or hidden and it takes astute conjecture to tease them out and get them to speak.

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