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St John’s Market Protests Enter Second Week

Protests to save St John’s Markets have entered a second week.

Although the council have promised to reopen the market, traders are demanding more transparency and consultation from Liverpool City Council.


Cllr Richard Kemp, leader of Liberal Democrats in Liverpool, was on hand to show his support and urged traders to keep on fighting.


“I believe St John’s Market traders are being treated very badly,” he said.


“There are 50 local traders and their families that might be put out of work unless we can reach an agreement between the traders and the council.”


“The council (is) trying to enforce rents which will just mean that every trader will have to close because they were set on the assumptions of lots of people using that market that have never happened. It’s certainly going to take six months to build up the trade once again.


“There are 50 local traders and their families that might be put out of work unless we can reach an agreement between the traders and the council.”

Traders protest at Clayton Square.Image by Lewis Jennings

Roy Tunstall, Head of Parking Services and Markets for the council, recently sent a letter to traders asking them to comply to the council’s terms and conditions or risk their position at the market.


One of the conditions included ending free rent for stallholders, with Tunstall citing the council’s struggling financial situation as reasoning.


While traders are not opposed to being charged rent, they fear extortionate prices will leave them with no choice but to pack up shop. 


Trader John Foley, who led demonstrations at Clayton Square for a second time, deemed the letter as “threatening” and says it has left his colleagues backed into a corner.


“LCC has said they will reopen St John’s Market on August 27 — only if all the traders have individually signed away their rights and agree to 100% of the rent and service charges, without (Mayor) Joe (Anderson) having to fulfil any of his promises, and it would mean us having to break our leases to sign the document,” he said.


Cllr Kris Brown, who had previously accused the council of trying to “starve traders into submission,” also attended the protest.


“They (traders) have really been shortchanged,” he said.


“Covid has been hard on all of us but you look around and you’ve got the rest of St John’s precinct open, but the market itself can’t open.


“This goes much wider than simply Covid. We’ve had the regeneration of the market which, frankly, to a lot of people I speak to and from personal experience, makes it look like the inside of a hospital.”


Cllr Kris Brown (left) and Cllr Richard Kemp (right) from Liberal Democrats.Image by Lewis Jennings

Cllr Lawrence Brown, from the Green Party, says he was satisfied that the council had responded to his enquiries about reopening the market. However he urged the council to reestablish good relations with stallholders.


“The market traders provide a vital service, offering great value for money to some of the poorest communities that have been hardest hit by Covid-19,” he said.


“I have asked the Market Manager to set up regular consultation meetings so that any issues that need to be resolved can be properly aired and addressed.”


Traders concluded the demonstration by marching to Tunstall’s office and chanting “save our market”. Tunstall was unavailable for comment.

Protests at Clayton Square.Image by Lewis Jennings