March 15, 2012 Herts and Essex Observer By James Burton
TRADERS have urged East Herts District Council to pull the plug on its trial pedestrianisation of Bishop’s Stortford’s market.
In emails obtained by the Observer under the Freedom of Information Act, two stallholders have called on the authority to return it to South Street – and a third has quit, citing poor trade.
Since last summer, the southern end of North Street has been fenced off to traffic every Thursday. Despite concerns over the impact on traders’ incomes, East Herts has decided to extend the trial until 2013.
The temporary scheme is part of a plan to make the market more competitive. If the council deems it a success, it could become permanent on Thursdays and Saturdays.
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As I read this article and came across the term “freedom of information act” and then continuing on to “code of conduct” I had to wonder, was I actually reading about a market in the UK.
Regarding the code of conduct, this is censorship, pure and simple, and it attempts to curtail peoples right to free speech. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right, and if this or any other Council is making decisions about the way they run your market, you, I, and everybody else for that matter, have every right to criticize their policies, and to voice our opinions, whether they, the Council, like it or not. If they attempt to gag you, they are in breach the law, its that simple, including your article 10 rights as set down by the European Convention, The Human rights Act and many others.
If you are unhappy about the way the Council are managing your market, tell them and get everybody else to tell them, they have no right what-so-ever to restrict your freedom of expression, code of conduct or not.
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