Rayleigh Town Council have been very active in revitalising Rayleigh market. Up till now the comments we’ve heard about this have been generally very positive.
The Town Council are now applying to the District Council for planning permission, to cover the market on Wednesdays as it is now, but also for weekends and bank holidays and the Christmas Lights Event.
To quote from the officers report:
Planning permission is sought to operate an open air market within Rayleigh
High Street on Wednesdays (this is already occurring so is retrospective),
weekends, bank holidays and at the Christmas lights event.
The purpose of this application is to gain planning permission to avoid the
need to submit separate Street Trading Consent applications each year for
such markets which cost the Town Council £250 each. The Wednesday
market occurs on a weekly basis. The Town Council also wish to arrange
occasional weekend/Bank Holiday markets in the High Street. These may be
themed such as farmers markets, continental markets, or
second hand good markets.
The Wednesday market is held on 52 Wednesdays of the year and
one Christmas Event is currently held. The Town Council has advised that
they are willing to cooperate with RDC/ECC regarding the number of times a year
that markets may be held.
The Wednesday market is currently open for custom between the hours of
7:30 and 4, these hours are also sought for the possible weekend/bank
+ Whilst the Wednesday market currently only operates on the
taxi rank side of the High Street, ECC is currently progressing an application
to allow more stalls on the other side of the High Street and this application
seeks consent for the market to occur on both sides of the High Street from
the top of Crown Hill to the clock at Bellingham Lane. The Christmas lights
event festive market is usually held on the last Thursday in November
however, this date has to be flexible. This market extends beyond the
Wednesday market positioning sought, extending up to Church Street. The
weekend/bank holiday markets would occur in the same positioning as the
Wednesday market but excluding the taxi rank.
Officers are recommending approval. However the application has attracted some negative comments:
5 responses received (23 Bowbank Close Shoebury,
63 Bowers Road Benfleet, 3 Nevern Road Rayleigh, Martin McColl 71 High
Street, unknown address) which can be summarised as follows:
Taxi rank related concerns:
Wednesdays already a problem as public park in designated taxi areas
and market overruns by at least half an hour.
Elderly people get confused as to where they pick up their cab from
with some finding it a real struggle to get across the road and half way
up the hill to get a taxi.
Saturdays and bank holidays are busy times for taxi drivers and the
high street with all the taxis on the main road it will only add to the
There are many other places to hold a weekend and bank holiday
market with parking facilities so confused as to why, as difficult as it is
already for us to earn a living, the Council is considering taking prime
times away from us.
This will affect a lot of drivers in the area to appease a handful of
traders who would do better to use the indoor market area provided or
one of the three half filled car parks or even the rear of the indoor
If the market is just going to be up the high street this would not be a
Drivers were told that this market would only happen one day a week.
Please do not use the taxi rank area on any more days for the market.
Despite what you may think, the elderly and many disabled residents
rely on the local taxi service to move around this town and get to the
The designated taxi drop off and pick up areas are not an appropriate
replacement. We have the added danger of doors having to be opened
onto live traffic. That is if a taxi can get into these areas. Taxi drivers
are “fighting” a constant battle with members of the public who continue
to use these areas for private cars. When it is made known to them that
on Wednesdays the use of these areas is for taxis only and are asked
to move on more often than not we receive abusive replies.
Concerns from local shop:
Since the introduction of the market I have had terrible problems with
shoplifting on a Wednesday so much so that I have to patrol the front of
my store during these periods, I have on several occasions had to call
police for assistance.
We have a few stalls in the market selling ourproducts or linked
products. Whilst I feel it is healthy to have competition I feel a sweet
stall directly outside my store of detriment to us.
On numerous occasions rubbish has been left out by the stall holders
and general public bins being over filled which is obviously not a great
advert for our high street that we all wish to promote.
Increasing the days of the market I believe would be of detriment firstly
to my own store and the high street with traffic issues especially on a
Saturday making this area not viable for shopping. I feel very strongly
about this and would be happier for it to remain one day a week as I
cannot police my store all these days.
Maybe more time and effort could be put into filling our vacant shops to
help promote Rayleigh as the place to shop.
I think Wednesdays work well as a novelty once a week. As the old
saying goes sometimes less is more.
It causes problems for taxies and local traders and from speaking to
people some older residents avoid going out Wednesday as it’s just too
crowded for them.
You can download the officers report here.
Legal note: Ron and Bruce are members of the Town Council. Chris will, as legally required, not make his mind up in advance of any committee meeting.