COUNCIL chiefs have clamped down on traders’ goods spilling from stalls into the aisles at Halifax Borough Market.
Letters have been sent out warning encroachment of the aisles will not be tolerated.
Traders say they acknowledge health and safety concerns but the heavy-handed approach will have a negative impact on business.
Frank Nutter, of House of Cards, has now brought card stands inside his two stalls.
He said they took up little space but were important in that they promoted his business to passers-by.
Mr Nutter said he had spent 32 years in the market - previously as a butcher and fruit and veg stallholder - and rules had never been as strict.
He said the council should take a more “common sense” approach and take action when traders actually block aisles.
“Why not use a little discretion rather than come down on us all hard?” he said.
“Trade is bad enough as it is without having to lose more business.
“We should all be working to keep the market going, not close it down.”
Janis Hoyle, of Knitters’ Corner, has had to remove a basket of wool.
“In 40 years’ on the markets I have never had anybody fall over anything,” she said.
“What’s the point of having public liability insurance if we can’t have anything out.
“If customers can’t see something I can’t sell it and what’s a market without stuff to rummage in?”
She said the wide aisle outside her stall left plenty of space for wheelchair users and the council should realise what an asset the market is and spend money on it to bring more visitors into the town centre.
But, not all traders share the same view.
Rebecca Devin, of flower stall Petals, said it was just a few tenants ignoring the rules and the clampdown would help efforts to tidy the market.
“Certain tenants are thinking more about themselves. We pay rent on the space provided, nobody should expect free rental space especially when creating hazards,” said Miss Devin, an executive board member of the tenants’ association.
A Calderdale Council spokesman said: “Calderdale has great markets and we want to ensure they are safe and attractive shopping venues.
“Recently, there have been incidents where customers have tripped over merchandise or signs, so we have reminded all stallholders of the regulations in their agreements with the council requiring aisles to be kept clear.
“These rules are applied fairly and consistently.”
The council’s market champion Coun Geraldine Carter said she was not involved in operational decisions but understood the council stance.
“Health and safety has to be a priority for traders and customers,” she said.
Councillor Carter (Con, Ryburn), who is president-elect of the National Association of British Market Authorities, said the council was working to find money to refurbish the Borough Market and promote all the district’s markets.