Labour Party stall sets market precedent

A Labour Party stall at this Wednesday’s market in Reepham provoked heated discussion at the Town Council meeting on 13 September.

The Wensum Valley branch of Broadland Labour Party had asked the council, which sets the rules for the weekly market, for permission to set up a stall to provide “information and publicity materials”.
Councillors narrowly approved the request in a 4–3 vote.
Several councillors said the Labour Party activists might upset market traders, put off customers or open the door to unwanted activities in the future.
“Councillors accepted that this would entitle any and every political or social pressure group to be given the same opportunity, subject to making a request to the Town Clerk,” said Cllr Michael Pender-Cudlip, who voted against the proposal.
Councillors agreed to draft a new policy covering who may run a market stall, and to discuss this at their next meeting on 9 October. The decision in favour of the Labour Party request makes it unlikely that the new policy will ban political groups.
The current market rules refer only to buying and selling.
In general, anyone can canvass door-to-door, set up a stall or hand out leaflets as long as they do not obstruct the pavement or behave in an anti-social way, the council meeting was told.
Charles Butcher

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