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Town councillors want control of Dorchester Markets

Dorchester Market LDR TB

Published at 8:32am 14th December 2018.

Dorchester councillors say they fear for the future of the town markets – unless the right to run them is transferred soon to the town council.

They have been battling for more than a year for the return of the Market Charter to the town, which confers the legal right to run markets.

Town councillors have argued that the charter was granted to the town – not the district, or even the county.

On Thursday three time Dorchester mayor Cllr Stella Jones warned that unless the town council ran the markets they would end up as a low priority for the new Dorset Council when it comes into being in April.

“We want the charter transferred now. Once the unitary council is set up they will have so many problems that things like Dorchester market will be at the bottom of the pile,” she said.

dorchester market

The call was backed by joint markets panel chairman Mary Penfold and vice chairman Molly Rennie.

Said Cllr Rennie: “There is no money attached to the market charter so I don’t know why it is still included in the list to be transferred to the Dorset Council.

“We are in a precarious position at the moment. If it is not transferred to the town there will be nobody to keep an eye on that market. We don’t even know who will make up the market panel,” she said.

Cllr Rennie said that the uncertainty could also affect the running of the Sunday car boot sales and the regular stalls in South Street, all of which are run under the market charter agreement.

“Somebody has got to have oversight,” she said.

Cllr Penfold said the importance of the market to the town could not be under estimated, with it also benefitting the wider area.

By Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins

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