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Exclusive: Banned traders demand return to Church Street

‘Ethnic cleansing’ claim after Christmas market spreads onto 'no-go' area

Written by . Published on November 28th 2011.

Exclusive: Banned traders demand return to Church Street

LIVERPOOL street traders’ veteran battler Brian Gould (pictured) is to seek a meeting with council leader Joe Anderson to demand a restoration of pitches on Church Street after the Christmas Market stalls spread out onto the controversial shopping stretch. 

The stallholders were banished after a lengthy and costly legal battle that went as far as the Court of Appeal. 

To deny us the right to return to Church Street
but allow the Christmas market stalls to be
pitched there is wrong

Now Gould has described the decision to allow the Christmas Market to spread into Church Street as a form of “ethnic cleansing”. 

He stormed: “The council went to great lengths to clear Church Street of the traders and made a vow that stalls would never ever be allowed to return. 

“People forget the traders are local people, with families to support and homes to pay for and throughout the battles we had with the Lib Dems, Labour were on our side. 

“To deny us the right to return to Church Street but allow the Christmas market stalls to be pitched there is wrong. 

“A stall is a stall is a stall and  by allowing them there, but denying us the opportunity is a form of ethnic cleansing or even apartheid. It seems there is one rule for some traders and another for us. We’d be happy to use similar chalet-style stalls. 

“I will be taking this up with the Street Trading Committee and asking for a meeting with Joe Anderson.” 

The fate of the street traders became a cause celebre for the then opposition Lib Dems in the 1990s, led by Mike Storey. 

They went to the electorate in 1998 with three pledges – to freeze council tax (then the highest in the  country), to protect parklands from any sell-offs and to rid Church Street of the traders. 

It took a long and lengthy court battle before the stalls were banished and Church Street became a no-go area for street trading. The traders were shunted into Parker Street, where they remain, and other streets off the main shopping thoroughfare. 

Gould added: “During our war of words with the Lib Dems, Cllr Marilyn Fielding  (the then Chair of the Street Trading Committee) made it clear stalls would never  be allowed back in Church Street once they were removed. To be fair to Marilyn she stuck to that stance.” 

Critics of the local street traders will say there is a world of difference between the alpine-style log cabin stalls of the Christmas Market and the tatty stalls that one local councillor once said made Liverpool look like a casbah. 

A council spokesman told Liverpool Confidential today:  “The Christmas Market is regarded as an event rather than regular street trading and as such it is legitimate for it to take place. The street traders were asked if they wanted to take stalls on the market but none took up the offer.” 

Img_0959Chalets in, socks stalls outA report to the council’s Street Trading Committee last month backed the Christmas Market proposals. A report to politicians stated: “A successful speciality markets programme has been delivered since 2004 despite the general decline nationally in the markets industry over the past 15 years. 

“Liverpool is keen to develop its Christmas market to compete with national and internationally renowned markets elsewhere such as Manchester, Birmingham, Cologne, and Stuttgart so that it becomes a ‘destination event’ attracting visitors worldwide. 

“The Christmas Market in 2010 saw a 100% increase in the number of stallson offer (approximately 108 chalets) and an extension into the north area of the city centre which included Williamson Square, Houghton Street, Elliot Street (Clayton Square), Parker Street and Church Street.”

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

AnonymousNovember 28th 2011.

This Gould chap needs to get a grip

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.


AnonymousNovember 28th 2011.

Everybody should get behind our local Liverpool market traders. They are people just trying to make an honest living and they are being denied this right by the council. These foreign markets are getting the best position possible for trading and reaping the profits, which they then take back to spend in their own countries. Whilst our local traders are banished to the outskirts and struggling to pay bills. How is this fair??

1 Response: Reply To This...
Scouse ShopperNovember 29th 2011.

I trust that the City Council would also deny recyclers the right to make an honest living if they too were intending to display their rubbish in the middle of our best shopping area like the old market traders did!

No-one has a"right" to create such an eyesore and commit such a public nuisance in our top shopping streets. There are plenty of less sensitive places stalls could be set up, such as where the traditional markets used to be when Church Street echoed to the thunder of four lanes of heavy traffic.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

I can see both sides of the story, some of the stalls though do bring down the overall feel of some of the streets though and look tacky. Maybe they do need better stalls like the Christmas market ones.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

I think this is awful, the first stall holders are all from liverpool and they created some great banter in the heart of liverpool and it kept them in jobs also, so whu is it ok for people out of town to be able to come each year , were is the difference in this.....

I think its awful and the council have got this so wrong bring back the scouse stall holders please....

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Danny JesselNovember 29th 2011.

The Christmas market is a seasonal tourist attraction for a limited period of a few weeks.

The old stalls were an ugly mess right in the middle of what is our city's shop window ALL YEAR ROUND. It made Church Street look like a rubbish dump

Clinton BaptisteDecember 3rd 2011.

Market stalls belong in a market as the name suggests, not cluttering a high street.

Also they were there every day of the week but they set up late and packed up early. I passed them on my way to and from work and always had to dodge their erratically-driven vans on what was a supposedly pedestianised street!

Proper market traders at least start trading at the crack of dawn to catch cutomers on their way to work.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

top comment is a disgrace ...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Top AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

No it isn't. He's going on about ethnic cleansing and apartheid and applying it to tea towel stalls. Of course he needs to get a grip. There is real suffering in this world. Do any of these stallholders pay tax?

Danny JesselNovember 29th 2011.

I never saw anything so tasteful and useful as tea towels on the old market stalls. Cheap acrylic football scarves, tatty nylon football banners and shoddy fake South Park mechandise was more usual.

Henry WilliamsonNovember 29th 2011.

Quite a conundrum for Labour as they fought hammer and sickle to keep the street traders in Church Street. The former Eileen Devaney was opposition person on street traders and she championed their cause. It's all very well the council saying this is a different thing as it is a short term Christmas market, but stalls are stalls. Mr Gould is correct in what he says and this smacks of a form of racism. However if stalls were to return to Church Street they would have to look the part.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Lord StreetNovember 29th 2011.

"Racism"? That's a serious charge. Can you back it up when the police come around to investigate your allegation of hate crime?

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

I agree with henry the traders should return to church street but only if the stalls look the part maybe by putting permanent neat and tidy huts there for them

Gervase LorimerNovember 29th 2011.

You want to build a permanent shanty town in our city's prime shopping area? Why not put in an open sewer and a nuclear waste dump as well?

AnonymousDecember 1st 2011.

No one said a shanty town i said neat and tidy huts and church street isnt our prime shopping area any more since the council sold the CITYS land to the duke of west minister to build liverpool 1 now liverpool 1 is our main shopping area.

Gervase LorimerDecember 1st 2011.

Liverpool One is private property, it is not a public place, it is not ours.
I never go in it as I am not interested in scally fashions or pricey junk food and there's precious little of anything else there. Even John Lewis is nowhere near as good as George Henry Lee was.

A few years ago going to town was an occasion, people dressed up to go to town. Now it's full of shouting drunken slobs in football shirts and trackies, urinating on the open air in broad daylight. If that's what you want for our city, by all means argue for your shanty town. I am thankful that good local people will fight you all the way.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

Yes, but that was when Labour was in opposition and sticking up for Socialist values and the local people. Let's see what happens now they are in the hot seat.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 3rd 2011.

What is Socialist about defending cash-in-hand Capitalists who rarely paid their rents and taxes?
Stallholders were always ready with a hard luck story for the local press but if they didn't have a dedicated van for their business, they've have to pick their stuff up with their large high-status private cars (they were never Escorts, Mondeos or Astras).

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

I was delighted when we finally shifted those tatty stalls from the main shopping route in the city, although to be honest I feel like a few have edged their way back in again, namely at the Lord/Paradise/Church Street junction.

That donut van brings the tone down massively, and how the market stall a few yards onto Whitechapel managed not to get moved on is beyond me. Totally tacky.

As for the German markets, they're a joke too, no more than a money spinner for the council and if you've been to an actual German market you'd know they are in no way even similar. Throwing up a load of log cabins does not a German market make, especially when a fair few of them are still flogging 5 lighters for a pound and minty "King Kenny" towels.

Go to Manchester to see how it's done properly. As usual Liverpool buggers it up.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Old HaymarketNovember 29th 2011.

The last time I went to a Christmas market in Manchester it was in the square in front of their beautiful Town Hall beneath the main Christmas lights rather than sqeezed into an existing upmarket shopping street. It sold high-quality goods unavailable in British shops, such as French knives and kitchenware.

AnonymousDecember 3rd 2011.

Into the 1980s the illegal street traders who sold stuff from suitcases in doorways and legged when they spotted a copper's helmet over the heads of the crowd wore suits and ties.

The street traders with stalls were a scruffy and rude lot

Johanna RobertsNovember 29th 2011.

In what way is it 'racism' or 'ethnic cleansing' or 'apartheid'? It is economics. It can be considered discrimination, but if the stall holders were offered places at the market, and turned them down, why are they now complaining? People will travel to Manchester and Chester to go to the Christmas markets there and then spend more money in the shops in those cities, so it only makes sense to compete on equal terms, and that means offering the public something similar or better, with a specific Christmas identity. The shops in the area and the city centre as a whole will benefit. And that has to be a good thing.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

He may have a point.
But to introduce terms such as 'ethnic cleansing' and 'apartheid' into his argument just to grab headlines is ridiculous and highly insulting to people round the world who have really experienced these things. For someone who seems to see himself as a serious campaigner, he should take another look at how his choice of words can end up putting many people off - people like me who might otherwise be very supportive of his overall argument.

Dingle View.November 29th 2011.

No, No, No, those stalls looked tacky, were tacky and the ones that are in the area now are tacky. Joe Anderson will just go with the flow and allow dozens of these stalls rather than upset the stall holders. Show some sense, no stalls at Christmas or anytime. The centre is now fine and too busy for the streets to be obstructed by stalls again.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Clinton BaptisteDecember 3rd 2011.

The Christmas Market would be better in a square like Williamson Square or Exchange Flags rather than cluttering our actual high streets with these chalets, picturesque though they are.

As for the old stallholders, they were an eyesore. I was going to suggest that they were relocated in the street market in Pembroke Place but I see that these days that little market is clean, well-presented and sells wares people might actually want, such as fresh flowers and potted plants.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

The Christmas stalls brighten up our city streets while the tatty old ones were a blight on the scene, more suited to the slums of Lagos. At least the latest traders take care of their area, not like the old stall-holders who turned the place into a rubbish tip. Good riddance to them.

Not a cowardly anonymous like the rest of youNovember 29th 2011.

Unfortunately the so-called Christmas Market traders are just selling the same old tat as the original street traders. It's all fur coat and no knickers. Well actually there's plenty of knickers - 10 pairs for £1.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

The Christmas Market is here for a short time only and look alot better than the old street trader stalls. I was so pleased when they finally got rid of them. We don't need them, we don't want them and they gave Liverpool City Centre an awful image. The city is moving forward I hope - not backward!

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

Continue the conversation, enter another comment...

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

Keep them out. There is a vast difference between the Christmas stalls and the old stall holders. We would be stuck with the old ones all year ruining Church St with their litter and tat. Liverpools' image is improving at last. We don't need to go backwards!

Mark AteerNovember 29th 2011.

That’s not how I remembered it at all! Storey’s Lib-Dems kept fudging the issue because the traders’ “shop steward” was a Lib-Dem Councillor (curiously no actualunion was mentioned) according to the Liverpool Echo at the time.

Storey set up a survey for residents in that semiliterate magazine they used to push through people’s doors which had three confusing, half-baked options rather than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. When the public still gave a firm ‘no’ to the stalls the Council did nothing whilst their magazine waffled on about seeking the opinions of “hard-to-reach people” whoever they are, to get a more convenient poll result for the Lib-Dems.

The market stalls were an eyesore selling cheap and nasty plastic tat, the scruffy traders lolloping around with their shirts off shouting coarsely in our city’s premier shopping street, and seemingly always in arrears with the rent and rates for their pitches, sometimes by years.

If they want to earn a living market trading all-year-round in the centre of Liverpool, there are plenty of purpose-built stalls going spare in St. John’s Market.

Of course they’ll have to smarten themselves up and go upmarket to fit in there. And pay their rent and rates on time.

Gervase LorimerNovember 29th 2011.

Of course in St. John's Market the street traders would have to mix with the Asian stallholders.

That couldn't possibly present a problem could it?

AnonymousDecember 5th 2011.

I wished the street traders well .... until! They are moaning about bird shite falling on their stalls from trees in Parker Street. It's lovely to see trees in the city centre and there should be more. The traders said they want to move (presumably back to Church Street) away from the bird-perching trees. The council though has a better remedy, they want to chop down the trees. Did you hear that, chop down the soddin trees. Bloody morons.

AnonymousDecember 5th 2011.

Surely bird shit would improve the look of their stalls?

St. MartinDecember 5th 2011.

They ought to move all right, to Great Homer Street.

AnonymousDecember 6th 2011.

Street stalls versus trees? No contest, the trees must stay. Treehuggers please write to the council saying no axe for the Parker Street trees.

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