A Derry businessman claims he’s not ‘getting a fair deal’ from Derry City Council.
Gerry McCloskey, owner of the Monico Bar, Custom House Street, claims some street/market traders in nearby Guildhall Square/Waterloo Place are “a law onto themselves” and are having a “negative impact” on his trade.
Mr. McCloskey says the situation is particularly bad during high profile events in the city centre.
He told the ‘Journal’: “I frequently find some street traders just pitching their stalls wherever they like - often in front of the very street where my business is located. In effect, they’re blocking it off to potential customers.
“It’s just not good enough. It’s time Council started looking after those businesses who’ve been here through thick and thin.
“I’m here since 1983 and I pay big rates every year but it seems Council couldn’t care less for that type of loyalty.
“In my opinion, Council needs to take a firmer line with those particular stallholders who only pitch up for business during big events.
“They must ensure that they are allocated designated spots - and ones which don’t block off access to other businesses - and ensure that they stick to them.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the regeneration of the city centre and the events that go with this but, as far as I can see, Council isn’t doing enough to ensure that those of us who’ve been trading here for a long time aren’t excluded from the picture.”
In response, a spokesperson for the City Council said it would take on board Mr. McCloskey’s remarks.
“Every effort is made to ensure that market stalls are licensed and located in approved areas of Guildhall Square,” she said.
“The monthly market is organised by the Council as an attraction for shoppers in the city centre and to encourage business to the Guildhall Square and Waterloo Place area of the city.
“The Council aims to continue to work closely with local traders and retailers to ensure their needs are addressed.”