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Cambridge Market Status and Powers

Meeting: 21/03/2024 - Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee (Item 18)

18 Cambridge Market Status and Powers pdf icon PDF 949 KB


Matter for Decision

The Council recognised the important contribution that the market could make to the local economy and the character of the City. Markets could deliver economic growth and regeneration; they offer an opportunity for small businesses to get started for a relatively modest financial outlay, help increase city centre vitality and contribute in a number of ways to the local communities they serve.


The recommendations in the officer’s report were relevant to the current day-to day operation of its markets. The Council aims to create a market trading environment that compliments the surrounding area and retail offer, was sensitive to the needs of all users of our city and provided a diversity of choice for consumers. It sought to encourage and stimulate investment from local traders and to create a quality and sustainable offer to our residents and visitors.


It was recognised that it was important that the Council had clarity on the nature of its Market Powers so that there was a reference point for any action the Council might want to take in respect of protecting and supporting its current and future Markets.


The Officer’s report summarised the work undertaken by the Markets team and the advice received from The National Association of British Markets (NABMA) Legal and Policy expert and makes a series of recommendations on the operation of modern and successful markets in Cambridge.


The Council’s Markets were currently operated under the provisions of the City of Cambridge Act 1985 which incorporates section 50 of the Food Act 1984.


The Council was advised that its Markets would benefit from being operated under the provisions of the City of Cambridge Act,1985 and Part III of the Food Act 1984, as Part III of the Food Act was the current statutory framework for all modern markets and its provisions were wider than those contained in Part 11, section 50 of the Food Act 1984 for which the Market currently operated.


Use of these additional Part III provisions would provide the Council with a comprehensive range of powers, and it was the intention to consult on the impact of proposed changes.


The proposed engagement framework for consultation on the impact of any proposed changes was detailed in Section 5 of the Officer’s report.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Climate Action and Environment

Agreed to:

      i.         Operate Markets in Cambridge using the provisions of the City of Cambridge Act 1985 and Part III of the Food Act 1984.

    ii.         Review current Byelaws, review current regulations and consult on the impact of proposed changes to terms and conditions and current licensing arrangements. These documents would then to be consolidated into one single document.

   iii.         Approve the production of consultation plan (as set out in Section 5) for the development of a Market Licensing Policy, a Balance of Trade Policy, and the impact of any proposed changes to the General Market Terms and Conditions.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.


Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.


Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Strategic Delivery Manager.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

      i.         Queried if the city could had more markets, particularly if requested by new developments. Who would control these, the City Council or another organisation?

    ii.         Queried if existing traders would be consulted (with others) on introducing a new market, and if so, able to block possible competition?


The Strategic Delivery Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

      i.         The aim of the Officer’s report was to ensure the market had balance of products (not too many or too few).

    ii.         The city had an existing market and could create more under existing legislation. Officers would respond to a request when contacted by people wishing to set up a market.

   iii.         The Council had regulatory powers to deal with markets in competition with its own that were set up on private land.

  iv.         A consultation had been drafted and would go ahead after May 2024.

    v.         A report on the market, consultation results, balance of trade etc would be brought back to committee in the future.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.


Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.