AN 800-strong petition on the future of Redditch market signed by shoppers has been welcomed by local Conservatives – who say the borough council should have asked residents for their views in the first place.
The council is currently testing the water on having the market run by a private company, including the possibility of a co-operative run by the traders themselves, but former market traders chairman Chris Sutton wants it to stay in council hands, prompting him to start the petition.
“At the time we asked for the public to be consulted on this but the controlling Labour group said this was not necessary.
“But now we have this development and I think that an 800-strong petition is evidence enough of how strongly the public feels on this,” said Councillor Juliet Brunner, leader of the council’s Conservatives group.
The market currently earns the council about £25,000 a year and Coun Brunner warned this could be at risk if it fell into private hands.
“We are saying that they have not listened and you cannot go about risking the loss of £25,000 in what are difficult times,” she added.
However council leader Coun Bill Hartnett said the consultation process was open to everyone, including the public, and all views were welcome.
“The public were asked on the first occasion this issue was raised and they can still have their say. (Portfolio holder) Coun Chance has responded to the petition and we continue to welcome comments from people on this.”