Crane mix-up causes mayhem at St Albans market

PUBLISHED: 14:37 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:37 05 March 2020

A crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura Bill

A crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura Bill

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St Albans traders were unable to set up their stalls in the usual way this morning due to a crane blocking the entrance to the depot.

A crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura BillA crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura Bill

The mix-up is not fully understood by the traders nor St Albans district council but the huge piece of machinery meant that customers and traders have lost out on a day's shopping.

Head of community services for St Albans City and District Council Joe Tavernier said: "I have been out and about today at the Charter Market apologising to both the traders and their customers for our failure to put up the stalls.

"I've explained that this was the result of an unfortunate mix-up over access to the depot in Drovers Way where the equipment is stored.

"When our team turned up at 3am to begin putting up the stalls, they discovered that their tractors and trailers had been fenced off overnight. This was part of works undertaken to secure a site for a large crane that is being used for building work nearby.

A crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura BillA crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura Bill

"The crane was properly licensed by our licensing department, but somehow arrangements had not been made to ensure we could still access our equipment. I'm investigating why that is the case and in the meantime can only apologise for the disruption.

"Our traders have been very understanding and I've been hugely impressed by the way many of them have improvised to keep the market going, using their own gazebos and other equipment to put up makeshift stalls. We have, of course, waived their fees for today.

"I am now looking to resolve the problem so that future markets will go ahead as normal. I've never known anything like this to happen before and we will take measures to ensure it doesn't do so again."

Record store trader Tony pitched up on the pavement: "If it rains today, I'll be packing up. It hasn't inconvenienced me much really.

A crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura BillA crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura Bill

"The only detriment is to the local people. I hope they won't charge the full amount of rent."

Disappointed shoppers John and Julia Freeman went to get a specific type of needle and thread from a stall which has not been able to open today due to the crane blocking the depot.

John said: "There is not much here today at all. We will now have to go to a shop on Beech Road for the sewing things my wife needs. It is very frustrating."

A crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura BillA crane blocking the depot has caused disruption to St Albans market traders today. Picture: Laura Bill

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