Farmers’ market petition dispute

Stroud News and Journal: Farmers’ market petition dispute Farmers’ market petition dispute

STROUD District Council (SDC) has criticised the organisers of an online petition about Stroud farmers’ market who, it claims, have made incorrect statements about the situation.

In just over a week, the petition on the 38 Degrees website gained nearly 5,000 signatures.

However, SDC claims many of those who signed up had read incorrect information.

The council is currently consulting on whether it should put the award-winning Saturday market, run by Made in Stroud, “out to tender”.

Initially the petition stated: “Last November, SDC announced plans to put the farmers’ market to tender, meaning that after 14 years of the market being built up and run by local Stroud producers, the council decided to try to cash in and put it up for sale.”

SDC said this gave a false impression, pointing out that the current operator is itself a private company.

The council complained and the wording was changed to: “Stroud’s award-winning farmers’ market is under threat. We have less than one month to stop Stroud District Council from putting it out to tender.”

But by the time it was changed, around 3,000 people had signed up and these expressions of support were not removed.

An SDC spokesman said: “We accept petitions will generally use emotive language but this petition, which was set up by the son of the director of the business which currently runs the market, used wording which completely misled those who signed up to it.

“We can understand that the current business which runs the market wishes to continue to do so, however creating upset and misleading those who care about the market is unhelpful.

“We will continue to progress our discussions with all stakeholders to ensure that Stroud’s farmers’ market continues to be successful and we trust that this will allay any fears about its future.”

Ry Gerbrands, who launched the petition, said he had not purposely posted misleading wording.

“The council has been quite unfair,” he said.

“Even if 3,000 people signed the petition when the text was different, more than 1,000 people signed it after it was changed.

"The council works for us and it should listen to what people are saying. We have an outstanding award-winning market that has taken a long time to build up and we would not like to see big market operators taking it over.

“I never wanted to mislead although I believe that Made in Stroud’s 14 years of running the market should not be discarded.”

Comments (5)

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12:22pm Fri 9 May 14

K D Cranston says...

Never mind the semantics, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who trade or shop at the Farmers Market are very happy with it the away it is. They simply do not understand why SDC would want to risk harming one of the best things to happen to Stroud for many years.
Never mind the semantics, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who trade or shop at the Farmers Market are very happy with it the away it is. They simply do not understand why SDC would want to risk harming one of the best things to happen to Stroud for many years. K D Cranston
  • Score: -11

12:52pm Fri 9 May 14

steve1234 says...

K D Cranston wrote:
Never mind the semantics, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who trade or shop at the Farmers Market are very happy with it the away it is. They simply do not understand why SDC would want to risk harming one of the best things to happen to Stroud for many years.
The fact the vast majority of people who trade or shop at the Farmers Market are happy with it is missing the point.

With the current arrangement the market gets a subsidy from the District council (despite the fact its budget is very much under pressure from central government cuts), do you think the rest of the district are happy with the way it is, especially those who cannot afford to shop there? Why should Stroud District council give Mr Gerbrands a state subsidy, despite the fact he is a private business making a profit?
[quote][p][bold]K D Cranston[/bold] wrote: Never mind the semantics, the fact remains that the vast majority of people who trade or shop at the Farmers Market are very happy with it the away it is. They simply do not understand why SDC would want to risk harming one of the best things to happen to Stroud for many years.[/p][/quote]The fact the vast majority of people who trade or shop at the Farmers Market are happy with it is missing the point. With the current arrangement the market gets a subsidy from the District council (despite the fact its budget is very much under pressure from central government cuts), do you think the rest of the district are happy with the way it is, especially those who cannot afford to shop there? Why should Stroud District council give Mr Gerbrands a state subsidy, despite the fact he is a private business making a profit? steve1234
  • Score: 16

3:20pm Fri 9 May 14

TigerTigerBurningBright says...

If there is a subsidy it should come from Stroud Town Council. Stroud gets loads of services that other towns in the area do not; why should they get a market subsidised by the entire district too?

What should actually happen here is that SDC should show exactly what money is paid into (or not charged for in licences etc.) to the market, and the operators should show that they are not profiting from the rate payers of the whole district.
If there is a subsidy it should come from Stroud Town Council. Stroud gets loads of services that other towns in the area do not; why should they get a market subsidised by the entire district too? What should actually happen here is that SDC should show exactly what money is paid into (or not charged for in licences etc.) to the market, and the operators should show that they are not profiting from the rate payers of the whole district. TigerTigerBurningBright
  • Score: 5

6:28pm Fri 9 May 14

kjag23 says...

I don't know anybody who actually does their shopping there!
Very expensive and frankly more of a tourist attraction than a useful market.
It's a profit making venture for the Gerbrands, not a charity, let them pay for it all.
I don't know anybody who actually does their shopping there! Very expensive and frankly more of a tourist attraction than a useful market. It's a profit making venture for the Gerbrands, not a charity, let them pay for it all. kjag23
  • Score: 9

10:17am Sat 10 May 14

Salendine says...

Lots of businesses receive subsidies, grants, and tax breaks so I don't think that is the issue. Transparency is what we need.
Lots of businesses receive subsidies, grants, and tax breaks so I don't think that is the issue. Transparency is what we need. Salendine
  • Score: -2

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